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Catholic and Orthodox Leaders Differ in Views on America’s Retaliation

“The path of justice and freedom should prevail,” Pope John Paul II urged a pilgrim audience in Rome Wednesday, calling for a peaceful resolution in the fight against terrorism, according to various news agencies.

The Roman Catholic leader also confirmed that, despite some security concerns, he is still planning a Saturday visit to Kazachstan, a largely Islamic state.
Earlier this week, the pontiff urged Americans “to resist the temptation of hate and violence,” according to CNN.com.
In a Tuesday interview, Metropolitan Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow said the United States should respond to the attacks, because “from the Christian point of view, the evil must be punished.”
“Americans have religious grounds for a retaliation strike,” one of the most influential Orthodox leaders told the Russian Information Agency.
He compared the attacks in New York and Washington to last year’s terrorist attacks in Moscow, Grozny, Kosovo and Macedonia. “These are all parts of one chain that should be broken and melted down,” he said.
However, the Metropolitan said that “a military strike should be adequate and commensurate,” in order to avoid killing the innocent.
Bishop Mitrophan, a Ukrainian Orthodox Church leader, disagreed, saying the world is at the brink of a new war.
“Therefore, it is important that both the American government and those responsible for the attacks resolve all problems in a peaceful, non-violent manner,” he said in a Wednesday news conference.
“It is not a time to point fingers and accuse innocent people of violence and evil acts,” read a Sept. 13 statement by Middle Eastern Christian and Muslim religious leaders, published at www.antiochian.org.
The statement, also signed by Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, urged Americans not to engage in discrimination against their fellow citizens.
“Many [Arab Americans] have died for America in the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean and Vietnam wars,” read the statement. “Neither Christianity nor Islam condones violence and terrorism.”
Alex Smirnov is BCE’s research associate.