Pope asks god for mercy for September 11 attackers attackers
Pope John Paul, marking the anniversary of the attacks on US cities, branded terrorism "ferocious inhumanity" but asked for prayers that God would show mercy and forgiveness for the attackers.
He also urged the world to change in situations of injustice that spurred the desire for revenge.
"We pray for the victims today, may they rest in peace, and may God show mercy and forgiveness for the authors of this horrible terror attack," he said in Polish, according to a translation provided by Vatican Radio.
The pope was speaking in unscripted remarks in Polish during a special general audience dedicated to commemorating the victims of the attacks by hijacked aircraft on New York and Washington landmarks.
The service included mourning music and a peace prayer.
"Terrorism is and always will be a manifestation of ferocious inhumanity, and because it is, it never will resolve conflicts between human beings," he told some 10,000 people in the Vatican's vast auditorium.
"Violence can only lead to further hatred and destruction."
But he called for changes in "scandalous situations of injustice and oppression, which continue to afflict so many members of the human family, creating conditions that are favorable to the uncontrolled explosion of the thirst for vendetta."
After his address, special prayers were read in several languages, including Arabic, for the victims of the attacks and for peace among religions.
Pope says world must address injustices that lead to terrorism (CNS)
Pope prays for victims of September 11 (Independent Catholic News)
Cardinal Poupard Urges Soul Searching in Wake of Sept. 11 (Zenit)
12 Sep 2002