Justice, Not Revenge

“What do we do in the face of such madness and violence?” Bishop Loverde asked. “No doubt, our first reaction is revenge and that is understandable given our frail human nature. Surely, those who engineered and carried out these acts of terrorism must be brought to justice. However, we are a people of faith whose Lord and Savior prayed for the forgiveness of His murderers while they were nailing Him to the cross. Even as terrorism, in all its forms, must be condemned and eradicated in this country and in the world, we must continue, through prayer and penance, as well as through dialogue, to fashion bonds of peace and renewed harmony.”

A “Mass for Healing and Peace” was offered Sept. 16 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was joined by Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of the Military Archdiocese and Bishop Loverde.

“Those who hurt us must be brought to justice,” Cardinal McCarrick said at the end of the Shrine Mass. “Those who seek to destroy us must be made to realize that it is a dangerous and impossible adventure. But these lessons we will teach within the boundaries of our system of law and according to the precepts of our values, never descending to the level of those who attack us by the wanton killing of the innocent.”

The cardinal read a letter of condolence from Pope John Paul II, who also imparted his apostolic blessing as a pledge of comfort and peace for all military and civilian personnel.

“I am confident that in this time of trial all Americans will find their religious faith a source of renewed hope and the impetus for an ever more determined resolve to reject the ways of hatred and violence,” the pope said.

“To those affected by this immense tragedy I hold up the light of the Gospel and pray that by the prompting of the Holy Spirit they will be led to an ever closer union with the Lord Jesus Christ in the mystery of His cross and resurrection,” the pope said. “To all I solemnly repeat the Gospel injunction not to be conquered by evil, but to conquer evil with good, to trust in the power of God’s grace to transform human hearts and to work fearlessly to shape a future of justice, peace and security for the children of our world.”

Catholic bishops and Muslim leaders issued a joint statement last week as a sign of their solidarity amidst the confusion and violence.

“We believe that the one God calls us to be peoples of peace,” the statement said. “Nothing in our Holy Scriptures, nothing in our understanding of God’s revelation, nothing that is Christian or Islamic justifies terrorist acts and disruption of millions of lives which we have witnessed this week. Together we condemn those actions as evil and diametrically opposed to true religion.”

They urged all Americans to unify during this national tragedy and to encourage cooperation among all ethnic, cultural, racial and religious groups that constitute the mosaic of our society.

(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)

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