U.S. Bishops: Response Must Follow Moral Principles

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 21, 2001 (Zenit.org).- In a letter to President George W. Bush, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed support for efforts "to seek out and hold accountable" those responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.



In the letter dated Wednesday, Galveston-Houston Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza also stated that the bishops were praying for Bush to "find just, wise and effective ways to respond with resolve and restraint to the long-term task of ending terrorism."

Referring to the United States´ "moral right" and "grave obligation to defend the common good" against such attacks, Bishop Fiorenza said that the bishops "support efforts by our nation and the global community to seek out and hold accountable, in accord with national and international law, those individuals, groups and governments which are responsible."

"While we must take into account the unique nature of this new kind of terrorist threat, any military response must be in accord with sound moral principles, notably the norms of the just war tradition such as probability of success, civilian immunity, and proportionality," Bishop Fiorenza wrote.

He added: "Our nation must ensure that the grave obligation to protect innocent human life governs our nation´s political and military decisions."

Bishop Fiorenza commended the president for "calling on Americans to repudiate acts of ethnic and religious intolerance. ... Arab-Americans and Muslims are not our enemies." He added: "Attacks on them are attacks on all of us."