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Pope chooses prophet's hope message for September 11 anniversary

Looking ahead to today's anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA, Pope John Paul II used his Wednesday audience to draw lessons of hope from the prophet Ezekiel.

He explained his choice of Ezekiel by pointing out that the prophet was "a witness to one of the most tragic periods suffered by the Jewish people". He was referring to the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile. He said the message of Ezekiel's canticle was clear: God will deliver his people.

The Holy Father suggested the purpose of God's action is never ruin, but that he allows evil "so that a new life will emerge".

He said: "The Almighty will sooner or later discover evil, defend victims, and show the path to justice."

The Pope's fundamental message to the audience was the need for believers to remain "full of hope" even in the darkest of times.

Catholic World News reports that he travelled to the Vatican by car for the audience, from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. He showed some signs of weakness during his public appearance, and read only a portion of the text he had prepared for the occasion. Vatican officials are showing some signs of concern about the Pontiff's physical condition, especially as he prepares to leave later today for a four-day visit to Slovakia.

Catholic World News

General audience of John Paul II (10/9/03)
We Were There (US Bishops' account of 'ministry amid ashes and ruin' released for today's September 11 anniversary)
5 ways to remember to September 11 attacks (
Two Years After 9/11, Catholic Charities Continue With Healing (
Pope says peace hopes fell along with Twin Towers (Reuters 8/9/03)
CathNews Archive - September 2001
US Bishops' official identifies "ethic of fear" (7/5/03)
Jesuit magazine finds redemption theme in latest Springsteen album (9/10/02)
The September 11 Tragedy: A Catholic Response by Joseph Purello (Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Charlotte)
September 11: A Year Later (National Catholic Reporter 6/9/02)

11 Sep 2003