Terrorism can haunt society at many levels

Archbishop Gregory M Aymond    We recently memorialized the victims of 9/11. What was that like for you?
    I was really struck as we remembered the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. I was amazed by the number of people who said, “I don’t know if I want to go there. I’m not sure I want to relive that. I’m not sure I want to see the pictures.” In some ways I was relieved, because that came close to my secret feelings, although I wasn’t as courageous in articulating it. For others the 9/11 memorial was an opportunity to realize that it did happen and that it was a tragic experience and we have moved on.
    How do you make sense of it?
    Whatever emotions we are feeling, we need to pray for peace – in our own country and in the world. It’s something we must do together. Secondly, we must pray for those who lost their lives in 9/11. The need for prayer did come through to me as I watched the television news. There were so many people whose hearts are still broken and wrenched by that experience, and they are still reliving those experiences time and time again. We must pray for those who have lost loved ones and, of course, for those who literally gave their lives to save other people. We don’t know how, when or where there will be another terrorist attack, so we do have to pray for peace. We have to be peacemakers. We have to pray for reconciliation.
    You’ve also addressed many times the level of violence in the Greater New Orleans area and throughout much of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
    In a way, the terrorist attacks of 2001 bring to the forefront the violence that permeates daily life in New Orleans. We’ve talked about the New Battle of New Orleans. I’m suggesting that there are terrorist attacks within our city. We continue to have multiple murders every day. People are shot while sitting in their cars. A child was shot to death in a car that was riddled with bullets. People are losing loved ones. A husband is shooting his wife, and then himself. The list goes on and on. It’s important that we remember that these are not merely statistics – this is a family, this is a person, this is someone’s life that has been taken away or shattered. In some ways, that’s a terrorist attack among us.
    You’ve also talked about the problem of bullying in schools.
    Bullying goes on in all of our schools – private, charter, public and Catholic. Sociologists and psychologists assure us there is bullying going on in most schools and neighborhoods. While some kids are hurt physically, I suspect more are hurt emotionally, in some cases for the rest of their lives. We need to look at what we can do to stop the bullying and to help people be peacemakers. Bullying in its own way is a terrorist attack on another person and his or her psyche.
    You just got back from a meeting of the U.S. bishops in which attacks on religious liberty were discussed extensively. What is going on there?
    There are some things going on in our country that are infringing upon or threatening to take away our religious freedom. It’s a very, very important question for the 21st century. I’ll discuss this more at a later date. I’m asking everyone to join me in a prayer for peace. 9/11 certainly was a terrorist attack of unprecedented scale. But we have different kinds of battles and terrorist attacks among us today. Who’s going to do something about it? You and I will do it. We are the disciples of Jesus. We are the ones who can make a difference through our words and actions. Please join me in that effort. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but we have to make a difference in the world, and we have to be able to fight this battle of New Orleans and remove the terror of violence from our society.
    What did you think of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s convocation called “Saving Our Sons NOLA,” which examined the high rate of murder among young people in the city? What can we do about it?
    The mayor is calling us to work toward a more peaceful city and society. He has challenged us to make a personal commitment of time, prayer and money to rid our cities of hate and move toward mutual respect. Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.
    Questions for Archbishop Aymond may be sent to clarionherald@clarionherald.org.

Site Administrator

➤ Lloyd Robichaux | Site Administrator | Art Director | Webmaster | lrobichaux@clarionherald.org | (504) 596-3024 | Fax: (504) 596-3020

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.