Don't Give In to Terrorists' Blackmail, Say Spanish Bishops

MADRID, Spain, MARCH 18, 2004 ( A Spanish bishops’ council urged the nation not to succumb to terrorists’ blackmail or to negotiate with them, «so that their criminal actions obtain for them social or political gains.»

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The episcopate’s Executive Council in a note published today said of terrorists: «If they do not succeed in making us lose our spirit and generosity, they will be without weapons to subjugate us.»

The statement, which came in the wake of the March 11 terrorist bombings in Madrid, was addressed to Catholics and to Spaniards in general, urging them not to give way to «uncontrolled fear or discouragement.»

The bishops warn that «terrorism hopes to spread fear and hatred among all, to break wills and subject society and the state to their own ends. They will not succeed if we do not give in to their blackmail, remain serene in spirit, and even have the magnanimity to forgive.»

The episcopal statement also reminds the government, elected last Sunday, that the priority must be the struggle against terrorism.

The «legitimate authorities must count with the collaboration of all,» it said. «We Catholics will give it without hesitation, and will contribute a strong spirit nourished by a hope that does not disappoint.»

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