Hope After Sept. 11, According to John Paul II

Attacks Underlined the Need for God, He Says

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says that Sept. 11, 2001, proved that without faith and trust in God, human hope is impossible.



The Pope addresses the consequences of the terrorist attacks on the United States in the apostolic exhortation "Pastores Gregis" (Shepherds of the Flock) which he published Thursday. The document gathers the conclusions of the synod of bishops that began just 16 days after the 9/11 attacks.

"The terrible events of 11 September 2001 were intensely felt by the Synod Fathers, with the dreadful fate of countless innocent victims and for the appearance in our world of grave new situations of uncertainty and fear, both for human civilization and the peaceful coexistence of nations," the Pope writes in the document.

"A new specter of war and death appeared, which, when added to the already existing situations of conflict, made all the more evident the need to implore the Prince of Peace that human hearts might open once more to reconciliation, solidarity and peace," he adds.

"Together with its prayers, the Synodal assembly spoke out in condemnation of all forms of violence and identified their ultimate source in human sin," the Holy Father explains.

"Acknowledging the failure of human hopes based on materialist, immanentist and market ideologies which claim to measure everything in terms of efficiency, relationships of power and market forces, the Synod Fathers reaffirmed their conviction that only the light of the Risen One and the guidance of the Holy Spirit can enable people to base their expectations on the hope that does not disappoint," the Pontiff adds.

"We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by those doctrines which deny the existence of the living God and which strive, more or less openly, to undermine, parody or deride Christian hope," the Holy Father says, quoting the bishops who attended that synod.

"'Christ is truly risen!' In his glorified humanity he has opened up the prospect of eternal life for all those who accept the grace of conversion," he adds.

Writing about the hope that should strengthen, encourage and sustain a bishop, John Paul II says: "Hope in Jesus the Good Shepherd will fill his heart with compassion, prompting him to draw near to the pain of every suffering man and woman and to soothe their wounds, ever confident that every lost sheep will be found."