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US Bishops' president tells Bush military action was necessary

In a letter to President George W. Bush on Tuesday, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said US military action in Afghanistan was regrettable but necessary.

USCCB president, Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston called for continued efforts to spare civilian lives.

He said that after the deadly terrorist attacks of 11 September, it was clear that "our nation and the world must respond".

Bishop Fiorenza said in the letter: "I commend the steps you have taken to formulate a response using diplomatic, economic and humanitarian, as well as military means."

A copy of the letter was made available on Wednesday in Rome, where Bishop Fiorenza was attending a synod of bishops.