Church and Peace International Office Church and Peace
Church and Peace
Church and Peaceis a ecumenical network of Christian communities, churches and organisations in Europe committed to the peace church vision.
20 September 2001
A week after the terrorist attacks of September 11 new statements continue to arrive: messages of sympathy for the victims and appeals to resist the temptation of an escalation of violence. During its meeting last weekend the Church and Peace Administrative Committee also formulated such a message which we are sending to you today despite the fact that it resembles other statements in several regards. The news we receive from friends across the Atlantic about public opinion there is alarming. In this situation it is urgent that the wave of sympathy for the American people be accompanied by a wave of encouragement to seek the path of peace!
Marie-Noëlle von der Recke, Church and Peace General Secretary
Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
We are horrified by the explosion of murderous violence on September 11 which resulted in the loss of thousands of lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who died in the catastrophe. We wish to express our deepest sympathy for their tragic loss.
Moved by an understandable anger, many are now raising their voices in a call for vengeance, for blood, for war. We want to rely instead on the foundation of our Christian faith, the teachings of the New Testament, and appeal to political leaders to show wisdom and courageous restrain by responding nonviolently to this act of terrorism. It is imperative that the perpetrators of this horrendous crime be brought to justice under international law. At the same time, military violence will only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence and lead to new and more terrible acts of terror not only in the United States but in all parts of the world. Innumerable people will be killed and the cancer of anger and hatred will spread even further.
We believe that rather than letting ourselves become entangled in a web of rage, bitterness and hateful violence, we are called to repentance and change. We are called to fully recognize our inter-relatedness. We must acknowledge the fear and hatred which divides people of differing ethnicity, culture and religious confession.We must open our eyes and ears to the despair and the anger of those suffering under global economic oppression driven by the quest for power and capital and be willing to repent of our complicity in such unjust structures.
We are convinced that terrorism can be stopped only by addressing its spiritual, ideological and economic roots.
Now is a time for mourning, reflection and repentance through fasting and prayer. We ask all Christians to receive anew the reconciliation offered in the Gospel, to walk the courageous path of nonviolence modeled by Jesus and to commit themselves to living in a way that contributes to a more equitable and just life for the disadvantaged of our world.