Pope Benedict XVI insisted Saturday that violence must never be carried out in God's name as he marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with a message to the United States.
In a letter to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, head of the U.S. bishops' conference, Benedict said he was praying for the thousands of innocent victims of the "brutal assault" and said he hoped their families find some consolation.
He said the tragedy of 9/11 was compounded by the attackers' claim to be acting in God's name. "Once again, it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism," Benedict wrote.
He called for a greater commitment to justice and a "global culture of solidarity" to rid the world of the types of grievances that spark such acts of violence.
Both Benedict and Pope John Paul II before him voiced such themes frequently in the months and years following Sept. 11, 2001. Benedict himself prayed at ground zero during his 2008 visit to New York and asked God to "bring your peace to our violent world."
Benedict, however, riled the Muslim world soon after he became pope with a now-infamous speech in Regensburg, Germany, in which he quoted a Medieval text that characterized some of Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."
Benedict later said he regretted that the comments offended Muslims and he has sought to mend ties with moderate Islam ever since.
In that vein, representatives of a major Indonesian Muslim student association visited the Vatican on Saturday and were received by the Holy See's top official in charge of interreligious dialogue, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran.
The students of the Muslim Student Association invited Benedict to speak at an international conference on dialogue and peace in Bali in October 2012, according to Fides, the Vatican's missionary news agency.
Benedict, meanwhile, met Friday with the founder of the Sant'Egidio Community, a Catholic lay group which starting Sunday will co-host, alongside the Munich archdiocese, a three-day conference on interreligious dialogue to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary. Cardinals, rabbis, Orthodox patriarchs, Muslim imams, Buddhist academics, and Christian ministers as well as the German chancellor are due to participate.