Statement from the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission:
In August we as a country will want to mark the 75th anniversary of the atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This was the world’s first, and only ever, use of nuclear weapons in conflict. Pope Francis visited both cities last year, laid a wreath at the memorials, and prayed for the more than 200,000 people who died instantly or in the months after the two attacks. He said “this place makes us deeply aware of the pain and horror that we human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another”.
In marking this important anniversary, we commend to our fellow Catholics, and all people of goodwill, Pope Francis’ call for a world without nuclear weapons. We can surely all agree with Pope Francis when he said that “In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven”.
75 years on from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have an opportunity now to demonstrate creative moral courage. We have a particular responsibility to reflect on Pope Francis’ conviction that possessing or deploying nuclear weapons “is immoral”. So as we look forward to the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons passing into international law soon, we call on the government, along with the other nuclear powers, to sign the treaty and be part of a future built on just international relationships and the common good of all humanity.