“When the time comes, I would like to be able to have that stroke of lucidity which would permit me to ask forgiveness of God and of my brothers in humanity, forgiving wholeheartedly, at the same time, whoever my killer might be. May we meet each other again, happy thieves, in paradise, should it please God.”
French Father Christian de Chergé
On Friday 26 January 2018, Pope Francis received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Pope Francis allowed the Congregation to enact the decrees of beatification of the 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven monks of Tibhirine. The circumstances of their kidnapping and death remain controversial. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
On the night of 26–27 March 1996, seven monks from the Atlas Abbey of Tibhirine, near Médéa, in Algeria, belonging to the Roman Catholic Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (known as Trappists) were kidnapped during the Algerian Civil War. They were held for two months, and found dead in late May 1996. The Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armé, GIA) claimed responsibility.
However, in July 2009, the retired French general François Buchwalter — who was military attaché in Algeria at the time — testified to a judge that the monks had been accidentally killed by an Algerian government helicopter during an attack on a guerrilla position, then beheaded after their death to make it appear as though the GIA had killed them.
The day after Buchwalter’s statement, former GIA leader Abdelhak Layada — who was in prison when the monks were killed — responded by reiterating that the GIA had beheaded the monks after a breakdown of negotiations with the French secret service. [Wikipedia]
Assassination of the monks of Tibhirine
Pope confirms decrees for causes of Saints — Vatican News
Vatican News — Pope Recognizes Martyrdom of the Seven Trappist Monks Murdered in Tibhirine, Algeria (1996)