Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Give Young People Hope For The Future

by Pope Saint John Paul II


The Holy Father's Address of September 11, 2002, at the General Audience. The Pope commented on the anniversary of the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

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L'Osservatore Romano



Publisher & Date

Vatican, September 18, 2002

1. Today from every corner of the globe countless persons go in thought to the city of New York, where last year on 11 September the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed as the result of a savage attack, taking with them in their ruin many of our innocent brothers and sisters.

At the distance of a year, once again we wish to remember the victims of this terrorism and commend them to the mercy of God. At the same time, we desire to renew our expression of spiritual closeness to their families and their loved ones. But we also wish to present a challenge to the consciences of those who planned and executed such a barbaric and cruel design.

One year after 11 September 2001, we state again that no situation of injustice, no sentiment of frustration, no philosophy or religion can justify such a deadly assault. Every human person has the right to respect for his own life and dignity which are inviolable goods. God says it, international law sanctions it, the human conscience proclaims it, civil coexistence demands it.

2. Terrorism is and will always be a manifestation of inhuman ferocity which, as such, will never be able to resolve the conflicts between human persons. Destruction, armed violence, and war are choices that sow and generate only hatred and death. Reason and love are the only valid means for overcoming and resolving the disputes between persons and peoples.

However, an agreed upon and resolute effort is necessary and urgent to advance new political and economic initiatives that are capable of resolving the scandalous situations of injustice and oppression that continue to afflict a great many of the members of the human family, creating conditions that favour the uncontrollable explosion of rancour. When fundamental rights are violated, it is easy to fall prey to the temptations of hatred and violence. A global culture of solidarity has to be built that will give young people hope for the future.

3. I would like to repeat to all the words of the Bible: "The Lord ... comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice and the peoples with his truth" (Ps 96[95],13).

Freedom and peace can only come from truth and justice. Only on these values is it possible to build a life worthy of human beings. Without them there is only ruin and destruction.

On this sad anniversary, we address our prayer to God so that love may supplant hatred and, through the dedication of all persons of good will, harmony and solidarity may be affirmed in every corner of the globe.

At the end of his talk, the Holy Father then gave a summary to the pilgrims in various languages. To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors he said:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today our thoughts turn to the terrible events of 11 September last year, symbolized in the destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, with the death of so many innocent people.

We address an ardent prayer to Almighty God for the victims of that terrorist act. No situation of pain, no philosophy or religion, can ever justify such a grave offence against human life and dignity. Violence can only lead to further hatred and destruction. It can never lead to correct solutions to the scandalous imbalances and injustices existing in the world.

The Lord judges the world with justice and truth (cf. Ps 95,13). May he help all peoples to seek the justice and truth that brings freedom and peace.

* * *

I extend a special welcome to the Benedictine Nuns and Sisters present. May you successfully assimilate the passing concerns of the world into the profound God-centred spirituality which has always been the life of your Order.

Upon all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims, especially those from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Malta, Malaysia and the United States of America, I invoke the abundant grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He extended a special greeting to the young people, the sick and the newly-wed, encouraging the latter in their daily efforts to live like the family of Nazareth.

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