Message from the Archdiocese of Tokyo Concerning the Multiple Terror Incidents in the U.S.
September 20, 2001
We offer our profound condolences to the victims, the families and all others who were killed or injured in the multiple terror incidents that took place in the U.S. on September 11th.
Violence such as this is always meaningless. Acts of terror such as this are a violation of the human person, an affront against humanity itself. Terror and violence solve nothing, they only worsen the situation.
It goes without saying that all are opposed to violence.
Together with those victims in the U.S. who fell unwittingly victims to this incident we feel profound sorrow and at the same time profound anger at this base affront to humanity. But if such feelings provoke hatred, vengeance, reprisals and recourse to arms and war, they render our opposition to violence meaningless. It is a contradiction to disavow violence and at the same time appeal to violence.
I am afraid that the U. S. and other countries on the international scene are in a high state of readiness to strike back with vengeance. But please remember that violence opposing violence solves nothing. Let us see what St. Paul says:
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves; leave that to God’s wrath.” (Rom. 12:19)
“Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21).
Conflicts should be settled by discussions made in a context of trust and patience, according to an international law which respects human dignity, by international organizations that use peaceful means. At this juncture it is important that we reflect on and thoroughly investigate the cause and events leading up to these terrible incidents. This is not a time to simply unilaterally criticize the perpetrators, but it is a time to take a cold hard look and ask why did these crimes happen. In this way all humanity, assuming a common responsibility, will be involved in settling events that threaten world peace.
Our Lord said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.!”
My desire is that we as faithful and as citizens of Tokyo ask, “How can I become an apostle of peace?” Discuss this and think about how you can carry out such a mission.
With prayers that our Church led by the Holy Spirit will faithfully fulfill its prophetic mission in our times.
Asking for your prayers and understanding,
+ Peter Okada Takeo Archbishop of Tokyo
The following are offered as petitions that can be used in the prayers of the faithful at Sunday mass:
Merciful Father, grant eternal rest to those who fell victims to terror on September 11. Also, grant support and healing to those who happened to be wounded or to those who are grief-stricken because of the death or injury of their loved ones.
God our Father, when your beloved Son was suffering on the Cross, He showed love for his enemies. Grant us the wisdom and power to follow Christ, to overcome our feelings of hatred and vengeance for enemies. Teach us to repay evil with good and to devote ourselves to works for peace.
God the Father of all peoples, our international world is marred by strife, division and hatred. Send the Holy Spirit to all peoples, especially to the leaders of the various nations. Then help us, filled with your Holy Spirit, to build a world where we hold other peoples in respect. We ask this through Christ our Lord.