Statement from Archbishop Keith Patrick O'Brien, Acting President, Bishops' Conference of Scotland 20/9/01
A week has now passed since the appalling events in the United States, yet many of us are still coming to terms with a tremendous variety of emotions, among them: shock, fear, despair, anger and grief.
Sights and scenes we were used to viewing in films or on television became reality. Thousands died in a grotesque and wanton act of terrorism. In the succeeding days, we have slowly come to terms with a catalogue of harrowing and horrific images.
The whole world mourns and is united in grief for those who have suffered most. Yet, we must consider where we stand as we face this appalling act. Careful thought must be given to the way ahead. In the midst of so much evil, good must indeed shine through.
It is incumbent on us as Christians to realize that there are so many "missing" from what we might call the ordinary civilized forms of behavior. In the Gospels, Jesus speaks of leaving ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness to go after the one that was missing.
We must seek those who have perpetrated these acts and ensure they are dealt with justly. We must seek those whose standards are not ours' and confront them with Christ like standards. We must never submit to evil and as Christians we must remain a people of hope.
We join in supporting our Government in the pursuit of those who were responsible for last week's terrorist acts, always mindful of the moral imperative to act with restraint and respect for civilian lives. It is in pursuing justice not vengeance, that we assert our own humanity.
We appeal to the Scotland's Catholics to show solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, who may be the target of hate crimes. We call on politicians of all parties and all people of good will to work for tolerance and understanding throughout our country.
CONTACT Peter Kearney,
Catholic Media Office,
0141 221 1168(O)