From The Catholic Herald, a story of heroism and abiding love:
The police officer who died after taking the place of a hostage in France was a practicing Catholic who had “experienced a genuine conversion” around 2008.
Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame died on Saturday after volunteering to replace a female hostage during a terrorist attack on the Super U supermarket in Trèbes, southern France, on Friday.
Beltrame left his phone on so that police could hear his conversations with the gunman.
He was shot in the neck by jihadist Radouane Lakdim before police entered the supermarket and killed the Moroccan-born French national.
…Fr Dominique Arz, national chaplain of the gendarmerie, told the French Catholic magazine Famille Chrétienne: “It turns out that the lieutenant-colonel was a practising Catholic. The fact is that he did not hide his faith, and that he radiated it, he bore witness to it. We can say that his act of self-offering is consistent with what he believed. He served his country to the very end, and bore witness to his faith to the very end.”
The website Rorate Caeli compared Beltrame’s sacrifice to that of St Maximilian Kolbe, who died in 1941 after volunteering to take the place of a fellow prisoner condemned to death at Auschwitz.
Beltrame and his fiancée, Marielle, were preparing to receive the sacrament of marriage, according to Fr Jean-Baptiste, one of the Canons Regular of the Mother of God of Lagrasse Abbey.
Fr Jean-Baptiste said in a statement, translated by Christopher Gillibrand: “It was through a chance meeting during a visit to our abbey, which is a historical monument, that I met Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame and Marielle, who he had just married civilly on August 27, 2016. We got on together very quickly and they asked me to prepare them for the religious wedding that I was going to celebrate near Vannes on June 9. We spent many hours working on the basics of married life for almost two years. I had just blessed their home on December 16 and we were finalising their canonical marriage record. The very beautiful declaration of intention of Arnaud reached me four days before his heroic death.”
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him …