Rouen, France, Oct 2, 2016 / 11:07 am America/Denver (CNA).
The French diocese of Rouen has officially begun an inquiry into the beatification of French priest Jacques Hamel, killed by Islamic extremists earlier this summer, after receiving a note from Pope Francis waiving the traditional five-year waiting period.
Rouen’s Archbishop Dominique Lebrun made the announcement after celebrating a Mass Oct. 2 to re-open the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where Fr. Hamel was killed by supporters of the Islamic State while saying Mass in July.
Typically there is a five-year waiting period required after the death of a person before a diocese can begin official investigations for the beatification. Though waiving the rule isn’t normal, other modern examples of the exemption are St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. John Paul II.
According to an Oct. 2 statement released by the French Bishops Conference, Archbishop Lebrun was informed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints that Pope Francis “has dispensed of five year waiting period usually required before starting the official investigation of the beatification.”
In order to thank the Pope for “this exceptional gesture,” Archbishop Lebrun decided to start the process on the day when Fr. Hamel’s parish was re-opened.