Archdiocese of Chicago
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Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I

ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO

STATEMENT OF FRANCIS CARDINAL GEORGE, O.M.I.
RE: TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS

Ten years ago, residents of the Chicago metropolitan area watched with horror as New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C, fell victim to terrorism.  Many anxiously waited to hear word about loved ones and family members who lived or worked on the East Coast.  We marveled at the bravery of the First Responders, the men and women of the fire and police departments who rushed toward danger while others ran from it.  We mourned with the families of those who died, and we prayed for our President.  And together, we cried out to God to protect our country and to comfort those in need.  For God never left us, even in those terrible moments of fear and darkness and despair.

Those who inflicted violence on so many thousands of innocent people in the name of God worshipped a false God, for only a false sense of God can lead people into acts of terrorism.  All faiths in dialogue with each other have condemned terrorism.

It is the God of life and love, whom we worship, who inspired the incredible acts of generosity and unity seen on 9/11: those who sacrificed their lives to save others, those who resisted the terrorists and fought back, those who gave of their time, jeopardizing their own health and safety, to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts, and the many, many acts of kindness that were never reported in the newspapers and are known to their beneficiaries and God alone. 

In the years since, I have visited many parishes and schools where I have been asked about the existence of evil.  “Where was God on 9/11? Why did a good and loving and merciful God allow it to happen?”

There are no easy answers to the question of evil.  Any suggestion one might offer will fall short of the mark, especially in the face of evil of the magnitude of 9/11, a day of national tragedy that will forever define those who lived through it. 

Our common responsibility as a Catholic community is to pray for the living and the dead, to reach out to those in need of healing, and to continue to work for peace in our society.  I ask all Catholics of the Archdiocese of Chicago to pray in a special way on September 11 for those most directly affected by the terrorist attacks.

With you, I pray that our merciful and understanding God will guide us and watch over our country in the years ahead.