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Of sacrifice and martyrdom

[ by Charles Cameron — martyrdom in the church of the proto-martyr, sacrifice at the sacrifice of the Mass ]

Boom! Here you have it:

Brightwell brass rubbing

That brass rubbing comes from the church of St Agatha’s in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, the village where I did much of my growing up, and commemorates one Fr John Scoeffyld, who was murdered, as I recall, on his way to say Mass at the Lady Chapel of that church, in 1507.

I served Mass in that church — and its sister, St James, Sotwell — many times in my Anglican youth, and remember that brass vividly enough, though the current web accounts of the parish [1, 2] fail to mention it — with the exception of Fred Heyworth‘s History of Brightwell.


A priest, killed as he was saying Mass — for me, there’s an emotional connection there.

These last days, that phrase has had a current application — in the appaling death of the French Catholic priest, Father Jacques Hamel, while he was saying Mass in the church of St Stephen, proto-martyr, in the town named for the church, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.

Here’s a video of Fr Hamel, so you can get some sense of the man:

I wrote the incident up for LapidoMedia, one of my other haunts — here’s the beginning:

ANALYSIS: The French state has no category for the killing of Fr Jacques


THE FRENCH Catholic priest Fr Jacques Hamel was murdered yesterday by two men claiming to act on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS). It was a religious crime in a secular state.

They forced the 86-year-old priest to his knees while he was saying Mass in the Église St.-Étienne (Church of St Stephen) in the Rouen suburb of St.Étienne-du-Rouvray, and cut his throat – some reports indicate they beheaded him.

Sister Danielle, a nun who escaped the church during the killing, told reporters his assailants filmed themselves cutting his throat and ‘appeared to preach in Arabic at that altar.’

ISIS later claimed the attack.

Please click through to the Lapido site to read the rest, and bookmark them for informed religious commentary on current events.


When you’ve read the LapidoMedia piece — why, return to Zenpundit for the second part of this post, because my Lapido piece was necessarily focused on the secular / spiritual axis, but the issues of martyrdom and forgiveness call for further consideration.

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