Keep Up the Help After Sept. 11, U.S. Bishops Are Urged

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 12, 2001 ( The outgoing president of the U.S. bishops´ conference urged other prelates to help Americans regain their faith after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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Bishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, Texas, said clergy must respond to the «destructive power of hate´´ with the love of Christ, otherwise the spirituality that emerged in the nation after the attacks will dissipate, the Associated Press reported.

«If people don´t find in the leaders of the Church reasons for hope the world needs, we will have failed them in their time of great need,» Bishop Fiorenza said, in the first day of the group´s four-day meeting.

Just after his speech, he learned that an American Airlines flight had just crashed after take-off in New York. He announced the news to the bishops.

The bishops were poised to discuss a draft proclamation that would call for an end to the sanctions on Iraq, help for the poor and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conference serves as the Church´s national voice on social, political and religious issues.

On Tuesday, the conference will elect Bishop Fiorenza´s successor. Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Illinois, the current vice president, is expected to become the first black to lead the group.

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