According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, any Christian who is faithful to Christ even unto death is regarded as a martyr who has displayed what Catholics call Heroic Virtue. And that same accepted death rather than renouncing Christ is understood technically as a Miracle of Grace.
According to various news reports, the ISIS Islamic jihadist terror group have made good on their threat to crucify to death Father Thomas “Tom” Uzhunnalil, S.D.B. this past Good Friday. As reported by the Bureau Staff of the Bangalore Mirror (of India) on Mar. 29, 2016 and also by John Hayward of the Breitbart news service on Mar. 28, 2016, after days of confusion and conflicting reports, one of the leading Cardinals of the Catholic Church has verified Fr. Uzhunnalil undoubtedly bloody and unthinkably pain-filled Heroic Virtue by willingly accepting his own Miracle of Grace.
While celebrating the Easter Vigil Mass this past weekend in his Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn confirmed the cowardly deed had been carried out in the South Arabian nation of Yemen. As reported, several religious groups in the region “received threatening messages last week claiming that Father Thomas had been tortured,” and would face death by crucifixion on Good Friday.
Father Uzhunnalil was initially kidnapped from a nursing home for poverty stricken elderly in the Yemeni coastal city of Aden. On Mar. 4, the home was attacked by The nursing home was ran by Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries for Charity. The home had been described as “the only Christian presence” in the city of Aden
As reported by Religion News Service earlier this month, “Lay workers at the residence screamed ‘Don’t kill the sisters! Don’t kill the sisters!’ as the attackers entered, looking specifically for the nuns. The assailants were described in the letter as members of ‘ISIS,’ the so-called Islamic State group. All four of the nuns caught by the gunmen were killed in the same manner, according to the account by Sister Sally, the head of the community: ‘(Attackers) tied them up, shot them in the head and smashed their heads.'” Sixteen people in total were killed.
Members of the Missionaries of Charity are only identified by their first names. The martyred nuns were:
- Sister Anselm from India
- Sister Judith from Kenya
- Sister Marguerite from Rwanda
- Sister Reginette from Rwanda
Britain’s The Guardian noted “Four gunmen reportedly entered the the home housing about 80 elderly people in Aden on Friday, on the pretext that they wanted to visit their mothers at the facility. The gunmen moved from room to room, handcuffing the victims before shooting them in the head. A nun who survived and was rescued by local residents said she hid inside a fridge in a storeroom after hearing a Yemeni guard shouting ‘run, run’. Khaled Haidar said that he counted 16 bodies, including that of his brother, Radwan. All had been shot in the head and were handcuffed. He said one Yemeni cook and Yemeni guards were among those killed.”
Father Uzhunnalil was a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The Order’s charter describes the society’s mission as “the Christian perfection of its associates obtained by the exercise of spiritual and corporal works of charity towards the young, especially the poor, and the education of boys to the priesthood”.