VATICAN, Oct 9, 01 (FIDES/ - The American
bishops participating in a worldwide Synod of Bishops
issued a statement on October 9, saying that the US
military response to terrorism was justified as long as it
was carefully limited and directed at terrorists and their

The American bishops' statement, released in Rome, was
signed by Cardinals Edward Egan of New York, William Keeler
of Baltimore, and Francis George of Chicago, as well as
Bishops Joseph Fiorenza and Wilton Gregory-- the president
and vice-president, respectively, of the US bishops'
conference. It emphasized that the US military strikes have
been, and should be, "directed at those who use terror as
well as those who assist them, not at the Afghan people or
Islam." The bishops asked for "continued prayer, resolve,
and restraint," and in particular "prayers for our
President and national leaders, for our servicemen and
women, and for all those touched by those terrorist

Cardinal George, in a separate interview with a Portuguese
radio station, pointed out that governments have an
obligation "to protect the lives of their citizens." At
times military action is required, he said, in order to
accomplish that goal. He went on to voice the hope that
once the threat of terrorism has subsided, the American
people might "reflect more deeply on the manner in which we
are taking action in the world."

Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem also called for a
general reappraisal of international policy. "These are
very confusing days-- days of renewed violence, difficult
days that force us to reflect on the problems of relations
among peoples." He suggested that the situation called for
"the great powers to revise the criteria according to which
they govern the world," so that international policies might
be based on "respect for the human dignity of persons and