As government buildings emptied around him and thousands of federal workers fled a chaotic capital, the first thought of Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was to find a hospital—or any place where he could donate blood.

During a meeting of Catholic bishops here, bishops prayed for peace at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and urged calm.

"In the shock and sorrow that affects all of us at this terrible moment in the history of our nation and of our cities, it is hard to find the words to console those who lost loved ones and to strengthen those who are so wounded in spirit by this terrible deed," McCarrick said in a homily at a special Mass.

The executive committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was meeting here today (Sept. 11), including the most prominent leaders of the U.S. church, such as Boston Cardinal Bernard Law and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony. Six cardinals and some 38 bishops of the church attended the meeting.

From Washington, New York and beyond, religious leaders reacted with shock and utter disbelief to Tuesday's terrorist attacks at the Pentagon and World Trade Center. Gathering for prayer, they urged calm. They also urged people to search for God amid the choking smoke and death.

The nation's most eminent evangelist, Billy Graham, urged prayer for government leaders. "I call upon all Americans to pray especially for our president and for all who advise him, that they may have divine wisdom as they respond to this insane and horrific act," Graham said in a statement.

"The inexplicable, the unimaginable has taken place, we're all in shock and instinctively we just turn to God," said Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, the Roman Catholic bishop of the armed services. O'Brien was hosting ...

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