More Reaction from World Religious Leaders

Messages of Condolence, Promises of Prayer

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 12, 2001 ( From Ireland to the Mideast and beyond, religious leaders continued to express condolences in the wake of Tuesday´s terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Below are some the messages. Some are excerpted.

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Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem

“Your Eminencies, Excellencies and dear Brothers,

“I would like to express to your Eminence and to the Church of America and the entire American people our solidarity and condolence for the terrible events which took place today in the USA.

“We are with you in prayer and feelings. The Church of the Holy Land prays with you and asks God to give you all His divine comfort and hope in these difficult moments.

“The Christian Communities in Jerusalem and the whole Palestinian people stand with you in these moments and share with you the sadness for the loss of innocent brothers and sisters in humanity and faith.

“We condemn these horrifying crimes and we are shocked and deeply saddened when we watched the extent of the catastrophe inflected upon the innocent people, which was caused by horrible acts of terrorism. It is unimaginable to see how catastrophic the extent of terrorism could reach.

“Let us work together for a better world as we begin the 3rd millennium after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace.

“Please extend our deep and heartfelt solidarity with all the families and relatives of all the victims of these events. May the Lord give them strength and patience.

“With our sincere and fraternal prayers and feelings.”

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Leaders of Ireland´s 4 Main Churches

“We wish to express the shock and abhorrence of our church members over the deep tragedy which has visited the USA through the unbelievable terrorist attacks which we unreservedly condemn.

“We can only guess at the immensity of the pain which is being felt by the people of North America but we are conscious that our two countries are closely bound by ties of family and Christian relationships and we are grieving with them.

“We extend our love and sympathy to all the people of the USA, and more especially, to those who have been injured or have lost family and friends. We give our assurances to the people of the American nation that the members of our churches are praying for them, the President and government and those who are dealing practically with the devastation and for everyone caught up its consequences.”

Archbishop Sean Brady (primate, Roman Catholic Church)
Archbishop Robin Eames (primate, Church of Ireland)
Rt. Rev. Dr. Alastair Dunlop (moderator, Presbyterian Church)
Rev. Harold Good (president, Methodist Church)

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Also from Archbishop Sean Brady

The following is the text of a message today, sent by Archbishop Brady of Armagh and primate of All Ireland to Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington.

Your Eminence,

On behalf of the Catholic Church in Ireland I offer to Your Eminence and to all in your Archdiocese our heartfelt sympathy on yesterday´s shameful atrocity. It was an attack directed not only against the innocent, but against all of civilisation and humanity.

Yesterday the leaders of the Four Main Churches in Ireland expressed, on behalf of our church members, our shock and outrage, our sympathy and our sorrow, over the horrendous attack which took place in your country. I wish to repeat those sentiments to you today.

We are united with you in your pain and disbelief, in grief and in sorrow. We are praying and will continue to pray for all of you, but especially for those who suffered loss as a result of these barbaric acts. We pray God to show mercy to those who have died, to heal those who have been injured and to console those who have lost loved ones.

One can only imagine the depths of hatred, brutality and treachery which inspire such unspeakable evil. We must all work together to oppose it, to address its causes and to try to change the hearts of those who carry it out.

Please be assured that special prayers are being offered at this time in St Patrick´s Cathedral, Armagh, and in churches throughout Ireland, in union with those of your own Cathedral and churches throughout your diocese and the United States. May the love of the Risen Lord console all of you at this terrible time.

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Prayer service in Brussels

Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, was scheduled to lead a prayer service for the victims of the attacks this evening at the Chapel of the Resurrection, in the Belgium capital near the European Union quarter.

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Bishop Ambrose Ravasi, Marsabit Diocese, Kenya

“That is a terrible thing! Unheard of. Should never be expected. We condemn it, yes; but as for retaliation, No. That will only worsen the situation. Let them find those who are culpable.”

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Hindu Council of Kenya

“That is a very sorry thing that has happened. I have no words to express it,” said an official at the Hindu Council of Kenya. “It could have been our own people who there at the WTC; it could be anyone and not just the Americans, like what happened in Nairobi a few years back.”

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Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

“We urge that all steps be taken to apprehend whoever may have been responsible for these attacks. Those people who perpetrated this horrible crime must be caught and brought to justice as soon as possible. HCEF condemns all violence against innocent people as a means to achieve political ends.

“Our prayers go out to all the families of the victims. We pray that God´s grace may console and comfort them. We offer our sincere condolences to these families who have lost loved ones. We pray that the injured will make rapid recoveries from their injuries. The brave firefighters, police and all others who responded to this emergency deserve our heartfelt support and admiration for their extraordinary efforts to save as many lives as possible.”

“We offer our support for the work of the President of the United States in his efforts to unite Americans and bring normalcy once again to our country. We know his leadership in the aftermath of this ´day of horror´ will bring peace to those who suffered and justice for those who transgressed the bounds of all decency.”

* * *

Middle East Council of Churches

The Middle East Council of Churches, representing Catholic, Protestant, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches throughout the Middle East sent a message to friends and colleagues in the United States. It reads in part:

“The world — we all — stopped, horrified. The massive scale of the violence particularly in New York but also in Washington has been beyond belief. Imagination cannot picture what may be its repercussions as anger yields to cries for vengeance. Almost instantly the images flooded out over the TV networks, horrific descriptions over our radios. Where we were first touched was in our human soul. We were caught up in the agony of individuals amplified manifold. And words are not enough to describe this even though that is all that we have at the moment.

“I wish to express to our friends in the United States our profound condolences for the loss of loved ones. …

“We are devastated by the bestiality that can infect ordinary human beings and transform them into mass murderers and deranged suicides. Evil raised its head. Its taunting must be resisted. Evil does not overcome evil; it augments it. Christ taught us that. The democratization of terror and violence on a massive scale points to a profound distortion in the human spirit of our times. And as those who bear the Gospel of Peace, it is this distortion we must overcome. With you we mourn the innocent dead; w
e bewail our own loss of innocence, our loss of confidence, our loss of a sense of security. And we do so out of a Middle East that has known more than its fair share of death, disillusionment and fear over all-too-many decades.

“But with you too we are determined that death shall have no dominion. Your hope and our hope will not be crushed. In the name of all the member churches of the Middle East Council of Churches, in the name of our presidents and staff, I stretch out to you our love and compassion in Christ´s name and for his sake. We break one bread and are one Body. Holding to that reality with a firm grip, you will rise above this tragic moment and, with you, we too will rise. Let us together seek the healing of the nations, and overcome this and all evil with good.”

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