See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Trappist Martyrs of Atlas


Were they really martyrs or victims of friendly fire?
.
One reason martyrs are not immediately canonized is that the Church must be convinced they had been killed for the faith. The Martyrs of Atlas, 7 French monks, were killed about 10 years ago in Algiers, presumed to have been executed by Islamic extremists, the only remains found being their heads:
.
"During the night of March 27-28, 1996, seven monks of the Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Atlas, near the village of Tibhirine in Algeria, were abducted by Islamic fundamentalists. Their abduction was claimed by a radical faction of the GIA (Groupe Islamique Arm�) in a communiqu� dated April 18, 1996 and published on April 27. In a second communiqu�, dated May 23, the GIA announced that the monks had been executed on May 21, 1996. Their remains were identified and their funeral Mass was celebrated in the Catholic Cathedral of Algiers on Sunday, June 2. They were buried in the cemetery of their monastery at Tibhirine on June 4, 1996." - Source
.

I wasn't aware there were other theories regarding the monks death until today:
.
"PARIS (AFP) — President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday he was determined to find the truth of who was really behind the 1996 abduction and beheading of seven French monks in Algeria, which has been blamed on Islamists.
.
"I want the truth. Relations between major countries are based on the truth and not on lies," he said, adding that he would release any classified documents on the killings which investigators might ask for.
.
The move came a day after potentially explosive revelations that a French general told investigators the Algerian army killed the monks by mistake when it raided an Islamist camp and the French state covered up the tragedy.
.
Critics have long been suspicious of the official French and Algerian view that the Trappist monks were killed by the Islamic Group Army (GIA) at the height of a decade of Islamist violence that left at least 150,000 people dead.
.
The Paris prosecutor's office opened an inquiry in 2004 into the massacre of the monks after a civil suit was filed by the family of one of the men and by a senior member of the monks' order.
.
Patrick Baudouin, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Monday the latest allegations were proof there was an attempt at "dissimulation on the part of the Algerian authorities and certainly on the part of the French authorities." His comment came after a source close to the probe leaked remarks allegedly made to French investigators last month by General Francois Buchwalter, who in 1996 was France's military attache in Algiers.
.
The now-retired general said Algerian army helicopters, hunting Islamist rebels, opened fire on a camp they spotted in the mountains near the monks' hilltop monastery in Tibehirine, 70 kilometres (45 miles) south of Algiers.
.
The helicopter crews realised afterwards that not only had they hit members of the armed group but also the monks, Buchwalter said, according to the source." - Story

6 comments:

  1. Hello Terry -

    You have a very interesting blog. The images you attached on the sidebar are entertaining. Your reflection about the martyred monks - I must have been asleep - I didn't hear about it - and I go on a retreat to a Trappist monastery in Mass. every year!
    I am a bit dense, can you explain the "Monastic horror stories"?
    I will be on retreat again in October, I want to be ready....

    God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Brian - years ago I had been a novice with the Trappists and my caption - Monastic Horror Stories is just a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous7:12 PM

    I should comment on this but I can't anymore. The news arrive and they are always bad. I have read that the monks'head were the only thing in their coffin, the rest had been disgarded to hide the fact that they died of multiple shots.
    Now Mr. Sarkozy pretends he wants to know the truth. Another politician who says one thing and does another...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Can you please post a link to the source of the icon of the Martyrs of Atlas? (Did YOU do it???)
    Arabic calligraphy has always fascinated me and I hope one day I would also be a missionary in Arab countries. Perhaps art would be a venue for dialogue.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. Br. William - the link is at the end of the second paragraph - click on Source and you will find yourself at the Trappist website - if the icon is not on that page, search the links at the bottom of their web page and you should find it. The icon is nicely done - the caligraphy also fascinates me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous10:34 PM

    I fail to see how these men would no longer be considered Martyrs for the Faith if while serving the Faith they were kidnapped and then murdered.

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.