No one who heard on the radio or saw on the television the horrific events that took place in New York and Washington yesterday can fail to be deeply moved and horrified at what had occurred. Yesterday was a day of national tragedy for the American people, and indeed, brought tragedy to the hearts and minds of people across the globe. My first thoughts, and those of all of us here present, are to mourn those who have lost their lives, to pray for their eternal rest and for consolation for their families. I pray for those who are living victims that they may know that God is with them in their sufferings. I pray for those who have the heart-rending work of rescue and ministry to the injured that God will strengthen them in their heroic work. I pray too today for the entire people of the United States of America, that they will support one another in the days ahead as they come to terms with the enormity of what has happened. For my part, I have written as President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales to the American Ambassador to express my sympathy with him on behalf of all of the Catholic community. I have also written to my brother Cardinals in New York and Washington to assure them of the prayers of the Catholic community in England and Wales at this time. It is indeed difficult to imagine the horror of what has happened. Our first reading says: Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony and wicked things of every kind being done. Terrorism is a wicked thing. Acts of terrorism are crimes against our common humanity. Such violence creates not justice but greater injustice, further violence and hatred. What is it then that we can do this evening as we come together to pray? Jesus Christ says in the Gospel today Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Pray to God to grant peace and justice in our world. Let us ask all people to renew their trust in God and turn away from the bitter fruits of the kind of hatred, which is the source of the tragic events of yesterday. We should also remember not to engage in ethnic, religious or national stereotyping as a result of the horrific acts of terrorists. Today, I stood with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi, and the Chairman of the Muslim Law Council here in Britain and together we expressed our horror and shock at these appalling evil deeds which have no place in the world we seek to build and to share. We have said together that, as religious leaders, it is vital amid so much anguish and suffering to nourish all that we hold in common and to resist all that would drive us apart. All of us, whether we are Christian, Muslim or Jewish, share a belief in God's compassionate love and a commitment to cherish and respect our common humanity. We pray at this time of tragedy that we may be worthy of that gift and that challenge. I will finish with the end of the reading: Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony and wicked things of every kind being done, whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace and is kindly and considerate. It is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good, nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers when they work for peace sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
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