Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the world’s need for compassion and justice in a letter marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
“It is my fervent prayer,” the Pope told New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the letter, “that a firm commitment to justice and a global culture of solidarity will help rid the world of the grievances that so often give rise to acts of violence and will create the conditions for greater peace and prosperity, offering a brighter and more secure future.”
In the letter, dated Sept. 11 but released two days in advance, Pope Benedict told Archbishop Dolan that his thoughts were occupied with the the “somber events” of 10 years ago, “when so many innocent lives were lost in the brutal assault on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the further attacks in Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.”
He noted that the “tragedy” of the 9/11 attacks had been “compounded by the perpetrators’ claim to be acting in God’s name.”
“Once again, it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism,” said the Pope. “Every human life is precious in God’s sight and no effort should be spared in the attempt to promote throughout the world a genuine respect for the inalienable rights and dignity of individuals and peoples everywhere.”
Pope Benedict praised the American people for “the courage and generosity that they showed in the rescue operations and for their resilience in moving forward with hope and confidence.”
He said that his prayers were joined with those of Archbishop Dolan, “in commending the thousands of victims to the infinite mercy of Almighty God and in asking our heavenly Father to continue to console those who mourn the loss of loved ones.”
In 2008, Pope Benedict visited the former site of the World Trade Center. There, he prayed for God’s “light and guidance” in the face of “such terrible events,” and expressed hope for “a world where true peace and love reign.”