Papal Prayers for U.S. on 9/11 Anniversary

«For End to Scourge of Terrorism»

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 12, 2004 ( On the third anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, John Paul II recalled the events with a group of visiting U.S. bishops.

«I assure you of my closeness to the American people and I join you in praying for an end to the scourge of terrorism and the growth of the civilization of love,» the Pope said Saturday to bishops from the ecclesiastical region of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

For its part, the Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper L’Osservatore Romano stated that Sept. 11, 2001, became «a threatening shadow» for humanity, but contended that «man’s enemies will not prevail.»

«We praise God that we are not alone,» said Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, when addressing the Pope on behalf of the bishops present. «We remember the words of Jesus: ‘The One who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone.'»

On Saturday, the Italian edition of the Vatican newspaper paid homage on its front page to the memory of the victims of the New York and Washington, D.C., terrorist attacks.

The editorial offered a spiritual analysis of the events, quoting John Paul II, who said: «Man’s heart is an abyss from which emerge at times plans of an unheard-of ferocity, capable of destroying in a moment the serene and industrious life of a people.»

L’Osservatore Romano recalled the Pope’s words at the general audience of Sept. 12, 2001: «Although the force of darkness seems to prevail, the believer knows that evil and death do not have the last word.»

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