It said that the regional deputy prosecutor Yannick Le Goater had confirmed that the suspect was hospitalized for a month.
The prosecutor said that police did not believe the killing was terror-related.
A photograph taken on Nov. 11, 2016, first published by the French Catholic newspaper La Croix on July 15, showed a man identified as Abayisenga greeting Pope Francis during an audience with socially excluded people in the Vatican.
The pope is believed to have met with Abayisenga during a gathering for the European Festival of Joy and Mercy in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
The event for socially excluded people was organized by the French organization Fratello, as part of the Catholic Church’s year-long Jubilee of Mercy.
La Croix also reported that the French authorities had rejected the suspect’s application for asylum and served him with three notices to leave France, in 2016, 2017, and 2019.
The suspect was held in custody following the Nantes fire in July 2020 until his release on bail in May this year, the newspaper said.
His release, under judicial control, included conditions such as an obligation to register with the authorities twice a month and to reside at the community in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre.
La Croix said that Maire summoned police on June 20 after the suspect expressed a desire to leave the community. The suspect was then hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. He was released on July 29 and returned to the religious congregation.
The newspaper said that the authorities had not deported the suspect because they wanted to ensure that he was available to be tried in relation to the cathedral fire.
The murder immediately sparked a political debate, with Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally, an anti-immigration party, criticizing the authorities for failing to deport the suspect.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
“In France, one can be an illegal immigrant, set fire to the cathedral in Nantes, never be deported, and then reoffend by murdering a priest,” she wrote on Twitter.
Darmanin rejected the criticism.
“Rather than expressing her compassion for the Catholics who welcomed this murderer, Ms. Le Pen polemicizes without knowing the facts: this foreigner could not be deported despite his deportation order as long as his judicial control had not been lifted,” he responded.
Le Pen is preparing to contest the French presidential election against the incumbent Emmanuel Macron in April 2022.
Macron said in a tribute on social media that Maire’s generosity and love for others were reflected in the features of his face.
“In the name of the nation, I pay tribute to Fr. Olivier Maire,” he wrote. “My condolences to the Montfortians and all the Catholics of France. Protecting those who believe is a priority.”