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Pope: Religion cannot justify terrorism

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.


Pope: Religion cannot justify terrorism

Pontiff says the world has a long way to go to stop seeds of violence

Pope Benedict XVI marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States with a message — nothing, not even religion, can justify acts of terrorism.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, and posted on the Vatican's news portal on Saturday, Benedict said:

"The tragedy of that day is compounded by the perpetrators’ claim to be acting in God’s name. Once again, it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism.

"Every human life is precious in God’s sight and no effort should be spared in the attempt to promote throughout the world a genuine respect for the inalienable rights and dignity of individuals and peoples everywhere." 

The pope said that a decade on from the Sept. 11 attacks, the world still had much to do to address the grievances that spur terrorism.

At an outdoor Mass in the Italian seacoast town of Ancona, the pope followed up his written remarks about 9/11 by warning "men of good will" against "temptation toward hatred," the AP reports.

Benedict prayed at Ground Zero during his 2008 visit to New York, and like Pope John Paul before him was outspoken about violence in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

However, Benedict upset Muslims everywhere with a speech in Germany in which, according to the AP, he quoted a Medieval text that characterized some of Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."

The pope has said since that he regretted that the comments and sought "to mend ties with moderate Islam," AP reports.

On Saturday, the pope commended commended Americans for their courage in the wake of 9/11, which he called a "brutal assault," Reuters reports.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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