Pope Appeals to Americans Not to Give In to Hatred

There Must Be a Just Response to Attacks, He Says

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FROSINONE, Italy, SEPT. 16, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II today urged the United States «not to give in to the temptation of hatred and violence» in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

While the U.S. government and military consider a response to the suicide attacks — including retaliation against the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan — the Holy Father appealed to «the beloved American people» to respond with «justice.»

The Pope addressed some 40,000 people this Sunday, who gathered in the main square of the little town of Frosinone, in central Italy, during his 140th pastoral visit in the country.

At the end of the Mass, John Paul II prayed to the Virgin Mary: «May the Virgin bring comfort and hope to all who suffer because of the tragic terrorist attack, which in the past days has profoundly wounded the beloved American people.»

«I now also direct my thoughts of sorrow and sympathy to all the sons of that great nation,» the Holy Father added. «May Mary welcome the deceased, console the survivors, sustain the families that are particularly tried.»

The Bishop of Rome prayed so that Americans will «not give in to the temptation of hatred and violence, but be committed to the service of justice and peace.»

Shortly after the attacks Sept. 11, the Pope sent a telegram of condolence to U.S. President George W. Bush. The following day he dedicated the general audience to pray for the victims, their families and rescue workers, and the country´s government leaders. On Friday, he interrupted his audiences, to withdraw in prayer.

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