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Pope John Paul II, September 13, 2001: “We must stop these people who kill in the name of God.”

World Trade Center Fallen Heroes American Flag
The Pope and 9/11
By Hon. James R. Nicholson
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Jim Nicholson meets with Bl. John Paul II

Pope John Paul II, although a man of the Church, was possessed with an uncommon sense for the dynamics of globalism and the complexities of peoples and cultures.

My first one-on-one meeting with Pope John Paul II was on September 13, 2001. The occasion was the formal presentation of my diplomatic credentials as the new United States Ambassador to the Holy See.  It was planned to be a festive occasion; instead, it was a sad event as the world was grieving the horrific events of just 48 hours prior.

The first thing the Pope said to me was how sorry he felt for my country, which had just been attacked, and how sad it made him feel.  We next said a prayer together for the victims and their families.

Then the Pope said something very profound and very revealing of his acute grasp of international terrorism.  He said, “Ambassador Nicholson, this was an attack, not just on the United States, but on all of humanity.”  And, then he added, “We must stop these people who kill in the name of God.”

The Pope’s words about the attackers of America on 9/11, and our need, indeed our moral obligation “to do something” was invaluable to the U.S. in assembling a “Coalition of the Willing,” as President Bush called it.  It was the Pope’s instant and keen grasp of the situation – the Afghanistan-based launching of these terrorist attacks — that compelled him to lend his moral influence to his friend and ally, the United States.

He knew exactly what he was saying and the effect it would have on the other countries who were trying to decide whether or not to join us as military partners in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and its collaborators. The Pope didn’t pause, hesitate or equivocate when he communicated through me to our President and the leaders of like-minded countries to push back against those stateless terrorists who tried to align themselves under the protective wall of Afghanistan’s sovereignty.

Pope John Paul II grew up under the repressive regimes of both the Nazis and the Communists.  He knew well the effects on freedom and dignity that those with an ideological agenda and matching military resources could wreak on innocent people.

The Pope had played a key role in what George Weigel call the “revolution of conscience” in Poland. He was instrumental in the demise of the Soviet Union and European Communism, and he was well practiced in the intricacies of using discreet moral force to influence international bodies.

Being first and foremost a man of peace, Pope John Paul II also understood the Just War doctrine of the Church and the responsibility of leaders to protect innocent people from evil forces. He respected President Bush and his “prudential judgment” in deciding what was legitimate to protect the common good.

In 2004, President Bush, with gratitude and respect for his solidarity with American values, presented the Pope with the Medal of Freedom, which is the highest award the United States bestows on a civilian.

Jim Nicholson is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

END OF POST/SOURCE CNA

Vision leads woman to paint 1991 portrait of… 911 terrorist attack

In this Oct. 14, 2010 photo, “Saving Freedom” a 1991 painting by Mary Jane Jordan is seen in Roseburg, Ore.. Caryl Jordan Baum, 67, the daughter of Mary Jane Jordan, believes it prophetically depicted the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. She hopes to have the painting, which she said her mother painted after having a vision, made into a postage stamp that commemorates the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

(AP Photo/The News-Review, Michael Sullivan)

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) – Ghostly figures run across the roof of a skyscraper, smoke and flames reflected in the building’s window panes, contrasting with the brilliant blue sky.

The people, who have no faces or color, clamor on top of each other in their haste to get away from a man brandishing a knife. A large American flag stands in the midst of the pale figures, the red and white stripes smudging together as if the flag was drenched in a heavy rain.

The scene is from a watercolor called “Saving Freedom” painted by Roseburg resident Caryl Jordan Baum’s late mother Mary Jane Jordan in 1991.

Jordan Baum, 67, believes it prophetically depicted the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. She hopes to have the painting, which she said her mother painted after having a vision, made into a postage stamp that commemorates the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Jordan Baum plans to submit an application to the U.S. Postal Service soon and believes the painting’s significance makes a strong case for it being put on a stamp.

Prints of the painting have been sold to people all over the country, with former President George W. Bush being the most famous owner, she said.

Jordan Baum sent a print of the painting in a frame with tiny American flags bordering it to the president around Veteran’s Day in 2001. She got a call shortly after from his staff saying they received the painting and planned to present it to the president.

“They were thrilled. They were getting chills,” Jordan Baum said.

She recently learned the painting will be part of the president’s archives, soon to be housed on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She had written a letter inquiring what happened to the painting and received an answer last month from the former president.

“It makes a fine addition to the collection,” states the letter signed by Bush. “Thanks again to you and Mrs. Mary Jane Jordan for sharing it with me.”

Jordan Baum found the painting while looking through a stash of her mother’s artwork in her garage shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Immediately struck by the way it eerily foretold the terrorist attacks, she rushed over to her mother’s nursing home to show her the painting and find out more about it. That’s when Jordan explained the vision to her daughter.

“She saw the whole thing before,” Jordan Baum said. “She had a vision, and she didn’t know what it was. It scared her so she put (the painting) away.”

Jordan Baum also noted how the painting contrasted with her mother’s other watercolors, which mostly depicted colorful landscapes and flowers.

“They were beautiful scenes, and they were nothing like this,” she said, gesturing to a print of the painting identical to the one in the Bush archives.

After the painting was displayed at Linus Oakes retirement village in Roseburg, where Jordan lived with her husband, Irving, for 14 years, many people requested prints, Jordan Baum said.

Per her mother’s request, all proceeds from prints and cards depicting the painting went to charity. People who saw the painting also frequently remarked that it would make a striking stamp.

“I want to keep her legacy alive,” Jordan Baum said. “If this becomes a postage stamp, it would be such an honor.”

Jordan died at 87 in 2002, but not before finding out that President Bush received her painting, Jordan Baum said.

“It made her very happy,” she said. “At least she lived long enough to know.”

Bush sent Jordan Baum a condolence letter following her mother’s death.

Jordan was a prolific painter, Jordan Baum said. She taught art at a high school in Costa Mesa, Calif., before she and her husband retired to Roseburg in the late ’80s.

Staff at Linus Oakes still fondly remember the woman who taught art classes to other residents and displayed her artwork there. Linus Oakes Activities Director Becky Brigham said Jordan was very patriotic and she remembers seeing the woman frequently decked out in stars and stripes.

It was her mother’s patriotism that made her choose out “Saving Freedom” out of 10 other possible titles as the name of her piece, Jordan Baum said.

“Many people, they’re just blow away by the meaning of this painting,” she said. “It shows that the terrorist is not winning. The patriotic Americans are carrying the flag and they’re saving freedom.”

END OF POST/SOURCE-KVAL CBS NEWS