"That You Will Find Just, Wise and Effective Ways to
WASHINGTON, D.C., 21 SEPT. 2001 (ZENIT).
Here is the text of the letter dated Sept. 19 and sent by the
president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to President George
W. Bush this week.
* * *
Dear Mr. President:
In the aftermath of last week's terrorist attacks, I would like to
reiterate that we stand in solidarity with you and the American people
in prayer for our beloved nation at this time of terrible loss and
The war-like acts of last Tuesday were appalling attacks not only
against our nation but against all humanity. Our nation, in
collaboration with others, has a moral right and a grave obligation to
defend the common good against such terrorist attacks. Therefore, we
support efforts by our nation and the global community to seek out and
hold accountable, in accord with national and international law, those
individuals, groups and governments which are responsible. It is
incumbent upon all citizens to recognize this common threat, and to be
willing to make appropriate sacrifices in support of our nation's
multi-faceted and long-term effort to respond in a morally responsible
Your administration has been clear that a broad range of security,
political, diplomatic, legal and military measures will be necessary to
stop this kind of terrorism and bring the perpetrators and their
supporters to justice. While we must take into account the unique nature
of this new kind of terrorist threat, any military response must be in
accord with sound moral principles, notably the norms of the just war
tradition such as probability of success, civilian immunity, and
proportionality. Our nation must ensure that the grave obligation to
protect innocent human life governs our nation's political and military
As we undertake the heavy burden of defending the common good, in
morally appropriate ways, against global terrorism, we must not lose
sight of the ultimate goal and responsibility of using our nation's
considerable influence and power to contribute to a more just and
peaceful world. Among other things, I hope our foreign policy will give
new emphasis to deepening our engagement with the Arab and Muslim worlds
and, in particular, will continue every effort to press for a just and
peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I want to commend you for calling on Americans to repudiate acts of
ethnic and religious intolerance. Arab-Americans and Muslims are not our
enemies but are our brothers and sisters, part of our national family.
Attacks on them are attacks on all of us. Your continued leadership in
this area will be critical in the months ahead.
We pray that you will find just, wise and effective ways to respond with
resolve and restraint to the long-term task of ending terrorism,
confident, in the words of Pope John Paul II, that Americans will not
"give in to the temptation to hatred and violence, but [will]
commit themselves to serving justice and peace."
Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza