Brothers and Sisters,
We ask for consolation and comfort
May the Lord remove from the heart of man
Let us pray so that the "culture of love"
After reciting the Our Father and before the Apostolic Benediction, the Holy Father pronounced the following prayer:
O God, Almighty and Merciful,
the Blessed Virgin bring comfort and hope to those who suffer on account
of the tragic attack of the terrorists, that last week seriously harmed
the beloved American people. To all the children of this great Nation
I direct my heartbroken and heartfelt consideration. May Mary welcome
the dead, console the survivors, support those families who are particularly
tried, help all to resist the temptation to hatred and violence, and to
dedicate themselves to the service of justice and peace.
Dear Cardinal McCarrick,
I join my prayers to those of all assembled in the National Shrine for the Mass of suffrage celebrated for those who lost their lives in last Tuesdays terrorist attack on the Pentagon. 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.
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. To all I solemnly repeat the Gospel injunction not to be conquered by evil, but to conquer evil with good (Rom 12,21), 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. Upon you, Archbishop O'Brien, Bishop Loverde and all the military and civilian personnel who have gathered to commend the departed to the infinite mercy of God our loving Father, I cordially invoke the divine gifts of wisdom, strength and perseverance in good. To all the faithful I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge of comfort and peace in the Lord.
I cannot begin this audience without expressing my profound sorrow at the terrorist attacks which yesterday brought death and destruction to America, causing thousands of victims and injuring countless people. To the President of the United States and to all American citizens I express my heartfelt sorrow. In the face of such unspeakable horror we cannot but be deeply disturbed. I add my voice to all the voices raised in these hours to express indignant condemnation, and I strongly reiterate that the ways of violence will never lead to genuine solutions to humanityís problems.
Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront to human dignity. After receiving the news, I followed with intense concern the developing situation, with heartfelt prayers to the Lord. How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christís word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it.
With deeply felt sympathy I address myself to the beloved people of the United States in this moment of distress and consternation, when the courage of so many men and women of good will is being sorely tested. In a special way I reach out to the families of the dead and the injured, and assure them of my spiritual closeness. I entrust to the mercy of the Most High the helpless victims of this tragedy, for whom I offered Mass this morning, invoking upon them eternal rest. May God give courage to the survivors; may he sustain the rescue-workers and the many volunteers who are presently making an enormous effort to cope with such an immense emergency. I ask you, dear brothers and sisters, to join me in prayer for them. Let us beg the Lord that the spiral of hatred and violence will not prevail. May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Mercy, fill the hearts of all with wise thoughts and peaceful intentions.
Today, my heartfelt sympathy is with the American people, subjected yesterday to inhuman terrorist attacks which have taken the lives of thousands of innocent human beings and caused unspeakable sorrow in the hearts of all men and women of good will. Yesterday was indeed a dark day in our history, an appalling offence against peace, a terrible assault against human dignity.
I invite you all to join me in commending the victims of this shocking tragedy to Almighty God' s eternal love. Let us implore his comfort upon the injured, the families involved, all who are doing their utmost to rescue survivors and help those affected.
I ask God to grant the American people the strength and courage they need at this time of sorrow and trial.