Originally issued September 12, 2001.

The tragic and overwhelming events of yesterday are only now becoming comprehensible. Our broken hearts cry out for the families and friends of the countless victims in New York, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania and across our nation. Pax Christi USA condemns this unspeakable act of violence.As America awakes this morning to a newworld the first reality to be confronted is the horrific loss of life. No one in the US is left untouched by these events. The deepest grief imaginable now descends upon our people. We are all thankful for the prayers of our sisters and brothers around the world. Let us also remember that God is present with all of us here in the US. We recognize that as the reality of the magnitude of loss becomes clear, our nation’s grief will soon move toward rage.

As people of faith and disciples of the nonviolent Jesus, we must be willing, even now in this darkest moment, to commit ourselves and urge our sisters and brothers, to resist the impulse to vengeance. We must resist the urge to demonize and dehumanize any ethnic group as “enemy.” We must find the courage to break the spiral of violence that so many in our nation, we fear, will be quick to embrace.

We therefore call for restraint on the part of our nation’s civilian and military leaders. The appropriate response to this despicable act is not a despicable act of violence in kind. Vengeance is not justice. The only kind of justice that will honor the memory of all those who lost their lives is a justice based on international law, not reckless retribution.

To follow the nonviolent Jesus in the midst of unimaginable violence is the call and the challenge to which we remain committed. May God’s love and strength provide us the means to be the Peace of Christ.

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