Pope prays for victims of September 11

 In the general audience today celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father remembered the victims of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on the first anniversary of the tragic events and entrusted them to God's mercy. The Pope assured the families and loved ones of those who died of his "spiritual closeness. But," he added, "we also want to speak to the consciences of those who planned and executed such a barbaric and cruel act." "One year after September 11, 2001, we repeat," he said, "that no situation of injustice, no feeling of frustration, no philosophy or religion can justify such an aberration. Every person has the right to respect for life itself and dignity which are inviolable goods. God says it, international law sanctions it, the human conscience proclaims it, civil co-existence requires it." The Holy Father emphasized that "terrorism is and will always be a manifestation of inhuman cruelty, which precisely for this reason will never be able to resolve conflicts among human beings. Abuse, armed violence and war are choices that sow and generate hate and death. Only reason and love are valid means to overcome and resolve disputes between people and nations." "A harmonious and resolute effort is necessary and urgent to carry out new political and economic initiatives capable of resolving the scandalous situations of injustice and oppression that continue to afflict so many members of the human family, creating favourable conditions for the uncontrollable explosion of the desire for vengeance. It is necessary to build together a global culture of solidarity, that returns hope for the future to young people." John Paul II stressed that "only from truth and justice can freedom and peace be born. Upon these values it is possible to construct a dignified life for man. Outside of these values, there is only ruin and destruction." "On this sad anniversary," he concluded, "we raise our prayer to God so that love can replace hate and, with the effort of all people of good will, harmony and solidarity can be affirmed in all corners of the earth." When greeting his countrymen in Polish, the Pope invited them to pray for the victims of the attacks and asked for "mercy and pardon for the authors of this horrible terrorist attack." At the end of the audience John Paul II recited a prayer invoking divine mercy and sanctity "for the injustices that stain the conscience of humankind" and prayed that the breath of the Holy Spirit, instilled in every man and woman, would make them grow "in harmony and become one big family" in which everyone is welcome as a son of God. "May the memory of the tragic events in human history," he said, "not obscure confidence in the infinite mercy and fidelity of God. His unchanging will of love and peace, manifested in Christ who died and rose from the dead, is the foundation of secure hope for all human beings and for all peoples." The faithful who joined in the Pope's prayer expressed four prayer intentions in English, French, Arab and Spanish. The intention in English prayed for "the victims of violence and terrorism and in particular for those who were cruelly snatched from their loved ones a year ago today." In French, they prayed for "the Church ... so that it may feed and sustain the hope of men of good will, guiding his footsteps on the ways of peace and justice." "For believers of all religions," went the Arab intention, "so that in the name of God All Merciful, Lover of peace they may reject firmly any form of violence and so that they may commit themselves to resolve conflicts with sincere and patient dialogue, respectful of the different historical, cultural and religious experiences." Lastly, in Spanish they prayed for children and young people, "the hope of the new millennium ... so that they may be helped to build a civilization of love and peace, in a world where everyone's rights are defended and where goods are distributed equally in all parts." source: Vatican Information Service

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