Is slain US journalist James Foley a martyr?

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
8 PHOTOS
James Foley
See Gallery
Is slain US journalist James Foley a martyr?
FILE - In this May 27, 2011 file photo American Journalist James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., poses for a photo in Boston. The parents of Foley, kidnapped in Syria more than four months ago, said Thursday April 4, 2013 that his latest disappearance is more upsetting than an earlier one in Libya because they don’t know who is holding him. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

A screen grab from a video posted to YouTube by ISIS that claims to show journalist James Foley, who was abducted in 2012 while covering the Syria civil war, being beheaded.

(YouTube)

Journalist James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., responds to questions during an interview with The Associated Press, in Boston, Friday, May 27, 2011. Foley, who was working for the Boston-based GlobalPost while reporting on the conflict in Libya, was captured along with two others by Libyan government forces on April 5, 2011. Foley, American freelance journalist Clare Morgana Gillis, of New Haven, Conn., and Spanish photographer Manu Brabo were released by Libyan authorities last week. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FILE - This undated file still image from video released April 7, 2011, by GlobalPost, shows James Foley of Rochester, N.H., a freelance contributor for GlobalPost, in Benghazi, Libya. A Libyan government spokesman says four journalists detained since early April have completed an administrative hearing and will be released Tuesday or Wednesday.(AP Photo/GlobalPost, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2013 file photo, Diane and John Foley speak about their son, James Foley, 39, a journalist who was kidnapped in Syria by unknown gunmen on Nov. 22, 2012, during a news conference at their home in Rochester, N.H. James Foley disappeared while working for Agence France-Press in Syria. His parents do not know where he is or who is holding him. They are in Wisconsin for a Friday night, April 5, 2013 vigil for their son at Marquette University, where he studied history. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
John and Diane Foley, parents of journalist James Foley, are photographed at their home in Rochester, N.H., Wednesday, May 18, 2011 before holding a press conference about the release of their son. James Foley, a correspondent for the Boston-based news organization Global Post, was one of four western journalists freed Wednesday by Libyan authorities in Tripoli. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Journalist James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., responds to questions during an interview with The Associated Press, in Boston, Friday, May 27, 2011. Foley, who was working for the Boston-based GlobalPost while reporting on the conflict in Libya, was captured along with two others by Libyan government forces on April 5, 2011. Foley, American freelance journalist Clare Morgana Gillis, of New Haven, Conn., and Spanish photographer Manu Brabo were released by Libyan authorities last week. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


By RYAN GORMAN

Many people - including Pope Francis - are now arguing that slain American journalist James Foley is a martyr, and some believe he should be considered for sainthood.

Foley's devout Catholic faith was discussed in the days after his grim execution by many who knew the American journalist, and reports have suggested his life could have been spared if he had converted to Islam.

The horrific video showing Foley kneeling in the desert next to whom many believe is British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary as the journalist makes a statement denouncing America does not give any inkling of his faith.

Foley condemns U.S. airstrikes on ISIS positions and humanitarian drops to refugees. He blames President Barack Obama and pleads with his family to not take government compensation.

A conversion to Islam could reportedly have helped him avoid a gruesome beheading, the image of his lifeless body lying in an empty desert burned into the collective memory of all who have seen it.

James Foley does not mention Jesus Christ, Christianity or anything resembling religion at any point in the video. But those who know him told anyone who would listen about his unwavering faith.

"[Jim] reminds us of Jesus. Jesus was goodness, love -- and Jim was becoming more and more that,' his grieving mother Diane Foley told reporters gathered outside her New Hampshire home, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

James Foley's younger brother, Michael Foley, told Katie Couric in a recent interview that Pope Francis "referred to Jim's act as, really, martyrdom" in an unprecedented phone call to the family.

Many cable news pundits and religious bloggers agree with the Pope.

Other accounts of James Foley's life have detailed his humility, faith and generosity. They refer to a letter published in Marquette Magazine, the college publication of his alma mater.

In the letter, James Foley wrote of how he survived his initial kidnapping in 2011 in Libya.

"I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed," the letter reads.

"I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.

He recalls a phone call to his mother.

"I told her. 'I've been praying for you to know that I'm OK,' I said. 'Haven't you felt my prayers?'"

He then writes: "Prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us.

"It didn't make sense, but faith did."

The Catholic Church does not require that people live a saintly or pious life to be considered for sainthood.

But if there is proof their religious beliefs directly contributed to their death, they can be considered martyrs.

Not all martyrs become saints. Not all saints were martyrs.

By all accounts, James Foley was a devout Catholic. He did not mention faith in his final taped statement, but that does not appear to be a choice he had.

Those who know James Foley say his unwavering faith gave him the strength to stand tall in his final moments, even if only from his knees.

Pope Francis thinks James Foley is a martyr. Is he?



What We Know About James Foley

Related links:
American journalist James Foley apparently beheaded in ISIS video
Hundreds of Americans have joined the brutal ISIS militia
Chilling new ISIS threat against Americans on Twitter
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners