Italian politician urges canonization of slain priest

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Governor of Italy’s Lombardy region has urged the Pope to fast-track the awarding of sainthood to the elderly French priest slain by Islamic State (IS) terrorists on Tuesday.

“Father Jacques Hamel, whose throat was slit so horribly — like an animal — by two Islamist terrorists in his church should immediately be made a saint,” tweeted Roberto Maroni, who is Italy’s former Interior Minister.

“A prayer for a martyr of the faith and request to Pope Francis: Make Father Jacques a saint straight away #padrejacquessantosubito,” Maroni wrote on Facebook.

Shortly after his appeal, the hashtag, which translates as “sainthood immediately”, began trending on Twitter.

84-year-old Hamel was allegedly beheaded on Tuesday by two armed men in his church in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, which was claimed by IS.

In the case of a martyr, only one miracle is needed for sainthood after beatification and a declaration by the Vatican that the person died for the faith.

The regular canonisation process is a lengthy one involving two miracles attributed to the candidate.

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