As our plane flew over New York City, the pilot indicated that we would be able to see the remains of the devastation below. From my window aboard one of the first American flights from Europe to the United States since the recent tragedy, I could clearly see a trail of smoke issuing from the lower tip of Manhattan, where the mighty World Trade Center once stood. Looking a little further south, I could see Brooklyn, where I was born, and where many of my relatives still live. Our flight landed safely in Washington, D.C., where, from my hotel window, I could see the repair work being done on the Pentagon.
The events of September 11, 2001, dramatically altered the landscape of our country, both physically and spiritually. On that sunny September day, men and women began their day as they always had. If the tragic events of that morning had not occurred, many of them would have done ordinary things and perhaps never thought of the deeper consequences of their actions or commitments.
Yet underneath the most mundane of our activities is a greater truth—a Truth that undergirds the whole of the universe. That Truth is that human life is sacred because it has an origin in the eternity of God’s grace, as well as a destiny in his love. It is because of this reality—that human beings are created in the image of God—that the heinous action of diabolical fanatics is such a crime.
Thankfully, such forces are doomed to ultimate failure because the logic of their Culture of Death leads to self-immolation and destruction, whereas the logic of our Culture of Life leads to replenishment, creativity, and growth.
As members of the faith community, then, understanding the sanctity and innate beauty of human life, let us join together in these perilous times to uphold our nation and its leaders in prayer. Let us continue to encourage one another to resist the temptation to despair, exhorting fellow believers to stand in resolved opposition to the destructive thinking that produces such unspeakable horror and in support of the Culture of Life that fosters a truly free and virtuous society.
Fr. Robert A. Sirico