WASHINGTON (September 18, 2001) -- The US. Bishops thanked Pope John Paul II for his concern after terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Tuesday, September 11. They expressed their gratitude in a September 17 letter signed by Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston (TX), president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The text follows.
Most Holy Father,
I write to express my most profound gratitude and that of all my brother Bishops of the United States of America for the words of compassion and love for our nation which you spoke at your Wednesday audience in this moment of terrible crisis. We are most grateful for your fatherly love and concern for our people.
In your memorable 1979 visit to the White House, you spoke these words, "America, which in the past decades has demonstrated goodness and generosity in providing food for the hungry of the world, will, I am sure, be able to match this generosity with an equally convincing contribution to the establishing of a world order that will create the necessary economic and trade conditions for a more just relationship between all the nations of the world, in respect for their dignity and their own personality."
The generosity to which you referred has been a hallmark of the best of our national character. It is our true source of strength and transcends every purely material glory. I pray with you, Holy Father, that our national leaders will find their way to overcoming terrorism through the kind of international solidarity, based on a more just world, of which you spoke. As you have so faithfully proclaimed throughout your Pontificate, the path to peace and justice is to be found in embracing the God-given dignity and worth of every human being. May the shock and revulsion we feel before the inhumanity of these acts of terrorism never be allowed to quench the generous heart of our people or to overwhelm the message of the Gospel which is a Gospel of Life.
We turn to you at this moment, Holy Father, and ask you, the Successor of Peter, to strengthen us by your prayers that we may remain faithful, especially in these days, to the Gospel of Life and Peace.
With gratitude for your fatherly solicitude and in the name of the Bishops of the United States, I am
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza