.- New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan hopes the United States can overcome social, economic, and religious troubles by recovering the “spirit of unity” that prevailed after the Sept. 11 attacks 10 years ago.
“Ten years ago we came together across religious, political, social and ethnic lines to stand as one people to heal wounds and defend against terrorism,” wrote Archbishop Dolan, who currently serves as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a Sept. 8 statement released by the conference.
“As we face today's challenges of people out of work, families struggling, and the continuing dangers of wars and terrorism, let us summon the 9/11 spirit of unity to confront our challenges.”
Archbishop Dolan described the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93 as “a time for remembrance, resolve and renewal.”
“In a special way,” he wrote, “we recall the selfless first responders—firefighters, police, chaplains, emergency workers, and other brave persons—who risked, and many times lost, their lives in their courageous efforts to save others.”
The archbishop urged Americans to look for renewal through prayer and service, as many did after the attacks.
“We turned to prayer, and then turned to one another to offer help and support,” the archbishop recalled. “Hands were folded in prayer and opened in service to those who had lost so much.”
He observed that compassionate faith is “the greatest resource we have” in the struggle to “reject hatred and resist terrorism.”
The U.S. bishops, Archbishop Dolan said, are committed to rejecting “extreme ideologies that perversely misuse religion,” while embracing “persons of all religions, including our Muslim neighbors.”
With regard to Islamic extremism, he said, the bishops “steadfastly refrain from blaming the many for the actions of a few.”
The New York archbishop recalled those whom the terrorists killed on 9/11, particularly the “selfless first responders – firefighters, police, chaplains, emergency workers, and other brave persons – who risked, and many times lost, their lives in their courageous efforts to save others.”
He also called to mind the “continuing sacrifices” of who have died in the wars that resulted directly or indirectly from 9/11, and called for a “responsible end to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
“Let us pray that the lasting legacy of 9/11 is not fear, but rather hope for a world renewed,” Archbishop Dolan stated.
He encouraged the Church to embrace Pope Benedict XVI's words during his 2008 visit to Ground Zero, when the Pope prayed at what he called the “scene of incredible violence and pain.”
During that visit, the Pope prayed that “those whose lives were spared, may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain.”
Pope Benedict also asked God, on that occasion, to grant “the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign, among nations and in the hearts of all.”