The Treaty was negotiated at the United Nations in 2017 and supported by 122 states. It will enter into legal force on 22 January 2021, banning nuclear weapons under international law.
On Friday 22 January at 11.30am the Network of Christian Peace Organisations will be gathering to celebrate the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with a short Thanksgiving Service hosted by the Network of Christian Peace Organisations. It will take place on Zoom and they hope to finish with bells ringing in celebration of nuclear weapons being banned. Click here for the Zoom link.
On Friday 22 January 2021 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force. This is an historic milestone on the path to nuclear disarmament and an opportunity to refocus on genuine peacebuilding rooted in dialogue, justice, respect for human dignity, and care for our planet.
In setting out the “moral and humanitarian imperative” for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, Pope Francis reminded us that “international peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation.” 
We urge support for the Treaty and repeat our call for the UK to forsake its nuclear arsenal. The resources spent on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading these weapons of mass destruction, should be reinvested to alleviate the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, for the Common Good of all peoples. 
At the same time, we implore the government to strengthen its arms control regulations, tackling the manufacture and sale of other weaponry, which continues to destroy so many lives throughout the world.
Above all we pray: “Lord, Father of our human family, you created all human beings equal in dignity; pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit.
Move us to create healthier societies and a more dignified world, a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.” 
+Declan Lang Bishop of Clifton Chair, International Affairs Department, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
+William Nolan Bishop of Galloway Commission for Justice and Peace, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
Peace campaigners stood in the Piazza outside Westminster Cathedral on Sunday for the annual vigil commemorating those who died when the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki killing about 80,000 people. A vigil was also held outside the Cathedral on Thursday 6 August, marking the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima which left 146,000 dead.
Pat Gaffney, former general secretary of Pax Christi, told ICN: “It was good to be with members of Pax Christi and Westminster J&P for the annual Nagasaki vigil outside Westminster Cathedral. To witness to the horror and suffering inflicted on that city was especially important this year, the 75 anniversary.
“Our messages were clearly presented in a safely distanced way to those waiting to attend the two Masses in the Cathedral. Our call and prayer were for the abolition of nuclear weapons with the practical ask to our own Government to become a signatory to the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.”
Westminster Justice & Peace joined Pax Christi this morning for a silent witness outside Westminster Cathedral to remember those who died in the nuclear bombing of the Japanese city Hiroshima 75 years ago today, and to call for a ban on nuclear weapons. We will return on Sunday for another witness to recall the bombing of the second city, Nagasaki.
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.
It is not often that students, diplomats and Nobel peace laureates from around the world meet to reflect on how, together, we can work for a nuclear free world. This unique gathering was convened by the Dicastery Promoting Integral Human Development in Rome on 10 and 11 November. Pax Christi was a participant.
Pope Francis addressed the gathering in a speech that presented a shift in the position of the Church with regard to deterrence and the threat and possession of nuclear weapons. He said: ” … genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices, if we also take into account the risk of accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned…they exist in the service of a mentality of fear….
Later in the Conference Bishop McElroy, from San Diego said: “The Church’s fundamental goal in this transformation is to dispel the complacency that currently subverts and paralyzes international efforts at nuclear arms reductions, complacency based upon denial and the false assumption that the logic of nuclear deterrence and proliferation has not fundamentally changed in the past fifty years.”
The event also celebrated the awarding of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for its work on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was adopted in July 2017. Beatrice Finn, Director of ICAN spoke of the important role of people of faith as a constant life-light to campaigns such as this. Pax Christi, along with a host of other organisations and communities have been working with national governments and Church leaders to encourage ratification of the Treaty. This work will continue as the UK Government has resisted any participation in these negotiations.
Nuclear weapons have always been seen as deeply immoral. Now, after years of work, 122 governments out of 192 have adopted a treaty that makes them completely illegal. The 7 July decision at the United Nations bans the manufacture, possession and use of nuclear weapons and provides pathways for their eventual elimination. World Council of Churches’ members are among the many groups and governments working towards this new international law for the past six years and more.
On 6 July, European and US Catholic Bishops issued a joint statement in full support of the treaty, calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. They said: “the fact that most of the world’s nations are participating in this effort testifies to the urgency of their concern, an urgency intensified by the prospect of nuclear terrorism and proliferation, and to the inequality and dissatisfaction of non-nuclear states about the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament efforts.”
We look forward to similar statements from our UK bishops.