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332 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived



This reflection is from the bishops of the United States on the tragedy of

September 11, 2001. It was an event that dramatized the issues of good

and evil and the need to draw moral guidance from the teachings of

Christ and the Church.

After September 11, 2001, we are a wounded people. We share

loss, pain, anger and fear, shock, and determination in the face

of these attacks on our nation and all humanity. We also honor

the selflessness of firefighters, police, chaplains, and other brave

individuals who gave their lives in the service of others. They

are true heroes and heroines.

Our nation has turned to God in prayer and in faith with a

new intensity. This was evident in the prayers on the cell phones

on hijacked airliners, on stairways in doomed towers, in cathe-

drals and parish churches, at ecumenical and interfaith services,

in our homes and hearts.

Our faith teaches us about good and evil, free will, and

responsibility. Jesus’ life, teaching, death, and Resurrection

show us the meaning of love and justice in a broken world.

Sacred Scripture and traditional ethical principles define what it

means to make peace. They provide moral guidance on how the

world should respond justly to terrorism in order to reestablish

peace and order.

The Role of Religion

We are particularly troubled that some who engage in and

support this new form of terror seek to justify it, in part, as a

religious act. Regrettably, the terrorists’ notion of a religious

war is inadvertently reinforced by those who would attribute

the extremism of a few to Islam as a whole or who suggest that

religion, by its nature, is a source of conflict. . . .

It is wrong to use religion as a cover for political, economic,

or ideological causes. It compounds the wrong when extremists