It was recently revealed that the disturbing murder of an 84-year-old French priest on Tuesday by two Islamic State-linked jihadis may have been preventable.
Last year authorities had discovered a so-called "ISIS hit list" during the police raid of another extremist hideout, according to the Daily Mail, where the name of the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen, France where Father Jacques Hamel was killed is listed.
The Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray church was one of many Catholic churches on the hit list, according to the documents confiscated from 24-year-old French student and suspected ISIS extremist Sid Ahmed Ghlam in Paris last April.
The documents found at Ghlam's residence, on his computer and phone, all indicated he was conspiring with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a French speaker in Syria who had given him orders to carry out attacks on the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray as well as the Sacre-Couer basilica in Paris.
Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he was "particularly shaken by this act of violence that took place in a church, during the celebration of Mass, a liturgical act that implores God for peace on this earth," and asked God to "inspire all to thoughts of reconciliation and brotherhood," The Christian Post reported.
Police arrested Ghlam after he called an ambulance when he shot himself in the leg. They searched his vehicle and living quarters, recovering an "arsenal of weapons," which included a police-issue pistol — which had been reported as stolen — and bullet proof vests, The Guardian reported in April 2015.
Ghlam was also under investigation for the death of a 32-year-old woman who was found in her own burning car that month.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud is suspected to have been the ringleader of a coordinated terrorist massacre in Paris in November 2015, which killed 130 people. Abaaoud himself was killed by police just days following that attack.
According to the Vatican's information service, Agenzia Fides, 13 priests were killed last year — most of them during the course of violent robberies — and nearly 400 church-affiliated workers have been murdered since 2000.