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September 11, 2001

Statement of Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, Regarding Terrorist Attacks - Delivered to the news media at 2:00 p.m. at the Rectory Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia

With all the people of the United States, I am horrified and overwhelmingly heart-sick over the unconscionable and unprovoked attacks by terrorists on the World Trade Center in New York and on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The shock of these heinous assaults on innocent and unsuspecting people as well as the catastrophic loss of life will leave for a long time a scar on the psyche of the American people.

The terrible accounts which were related on the radio as well as the frightening images which we watched on television have left us numb. Undoubtedly, all of us, so accustomed to living in the peace and security of the United States now feel unsafe and in danger. People may have a desire to run to safety, to hide from the anticipation of violent attack. The very symbols of our nation's security and prosperity have been turned to dust and innumerable lives have been abruptly ended. A feeling of fear and insecurity, even panic, can be justified.

Yet we know that in times of crisis such as this the American people, strengthened by God's grace, so profoundly demonstrate their solidarity. The suffering of fellow human beings is not overlooked. Every heart is moved not only to pity but to action. We will do all that we can to provide aid for the victims, prayers for the those who are casualties and deep-seated sympathy and prayerful support for the families of those who have been killed or injured in these calamitous incidents. It is in such moments of crisis that the American spirit shines forth as courageous, dauntless and enduring.

Our nation was founded on principles revealed by God and we know that, in spite of the horrendous evil carried out by men of hatred, we remain under our loving God's protection and guidance. In this time of trial, we raise our minds and hearts to our Merciful God. I ask all those who are listening to join me in prayer at this time of national tragedy. (PAUSE)

Heavenly Father, we commend to Your infinite compassion and mercy those whose lives were unjustly taken from them by those who embrace violence and hatred. We pray for the families of the victims. May they know comfort and have hope that You, the God of all goodness, will welcome to Your consoling embrace their loved ones who have died. Move to conversion those responsible for these brutal acts. While we seek justice, we also pray that the hatred which motivates acts of terrorism will be eradicated from the earth. Grant peace in the world and security in our land. Full of confidence and moved by our love for our nation, we ask that You, our merciful God, continue to bless America and to keep safe and from all harm all those who hope in You. Amen.


Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications

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