e-mail us
Anglican questions purpose, effect of bombing

Those attending the Synod of Bishops set aside the regular morning prayer Oct. 11 as a special time for remembering those suffering as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

As that prayer unfolded, an Anglican observer offered a meditation that raised serious questions about the latest military action.

Peter Forster, an Anglican bishop and a “fraternal delegate” at the synod, called the West to a more profound analysis of the world situation.

“As we watch the most powerful nations on earth drop very sophisticated bombs on just about the least sophisticated nation on earth, however justified it might be, we again ask: Is this real? Will it indeed put an end to terrorism or will it just encourage more of it?

“If the 20th century taught us anything, it is that if God is to be found, God will be found in the midst of suffering and poverty, just as he once suffered for us on the cross,” Forster said.

“God is in New York and Washington and Philadelphia. He is also in Afghanistan. He is with a wealthy and sophisticated Western society that has lost touch with reality in all sorts of ways. He is also, especially, with those who suffer from a lack of resources, with those thousands who have actually died in obscurity and poverty since the 11th of September.

“He is with the millions in Africa and elsewhere who have this terrible disease of AIDS. He is also present to the terrorists, whose hearts turned to evil.

“Our task,” Forster said, “is to give his presence a name, the name of Jesus Christ. He is the one in whom God reconciled all things to himself by the blood of the cross. He is the one who has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation.”

In his own remarks, the pope prayed in a general way for “tenacity and perseverance for all those of good will in the pursuit of justice and peace.”

John Paul has issued strong appeals for peace since the Sept. 11 attacks, but Vatican spokespersons have also said they can “understand” use of force by the United States.

-- John L. Allen

National Catholic Reporter, October 19, 2001