Catholic Bishops oppose increase in Trident nuclear warheads

Source Independent Catholic News

Church leaders across seven denominations have issued a statement following the publication of the UK Government’s integrated review of foreign and defence policies.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference Chair of the International Affairs Department, Bishop Declan Lang, and the Lead Bishop on Peace and Disarmament Issues, Bishop William Kenney, have signed the statement.

The full text follows

“The Government’s decision in the integrated review of defence, security and foreign policy to increase the number of Trident nuclear warheads the UK can stockpile by more than 40 percent is a retrograde step that will not make any of us safer.

“Our Trident submarines already carry warheads that in total have an explosive yield equivalent to hundreds of the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima. It is immoral that the UK government is committing resources, which could be spent on the common good of our society, to stockpiling even more.

“Over the last 50 years, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has restricted the increase in the number of nuclear weapons worldwide as well as the number of new nuclear-armed states. This announcement puts those gains in jeopardy and weakens collective action on non-proliferation.

“Progress on reducing the threat from nuclear weapons will come through dialogue, diplomacy and principled action. The Government’s announcement today will complicate rather than aid this process.

“The entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition in of Nuclear Weapons is an encouraging development. As people of faith, we join with millions across the world who are working towards the elimination of nuclear arsenals.

“Living up to our responsibilities under the Non Proliferation Treaty would be a step towards realising that vision. We believe that ‘Global Britain’ should strive for peaceful and cooperative international relationships, and joint endeavour on climate change, global poverty and other challenges. This announcement takes us in a worrying and wholly wrong direction.”

Signatories

The following Christian leaders signed the statement:

Most Revd and Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell
Archbishop of York

Most Revd John Davies
Archbishop of Wales

Revd Clare Downing
Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church

Bob Fyffe
General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Bishop William Kenney
Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham
International Affairs Department, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Bishop Declan Lang
Bishop of Clifton, Chair, International Affairs Department
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Carolyn Lawrence
Vice-President of the Methodist Church

Revd David Mayne
Moderator of the Baptist Union Council

Paul Parker
Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain

Revd Dr Joanna Penberthy
Bishop of St Davids

Revd Richard Teal
President of the Methodist Church

LINK

Integrated defence review: www.gov.uk/government/publications/global-britain-in-a-competitive-age-the-integrated-review-of-security-defence-development-and-foreign-policy

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters into law – Friday 22nd January 2021 – Invitation to a Thanksgiving Service

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.

THANKSGIVING SERVICE

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.

More details from Christian CND

Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales

Catholic Bishops Endorse UN Treaty on Nuclear Weapons, ahead of Peace Sunday – 17th January 2020

Source – Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales

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.” [1]

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. [2]

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.” [3]

+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

+William Kenney
Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham

[1] Message to the UN conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination
(23 March 2017)

[2] Statement on nuclear weapons
(4 August 2020)

[3] Fratelli Tutti

Nagasaki 75 – Witness Outside Westminster Cathedral

A stark reminder

Report from Independent Catholic News

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.”

Find out more about Pax Christi here: https://paxchristi.org.uk/

Hiroshima 75 – Witness at Westminster Cathedral

Pax Christi and J & P members outside Westminster Cathedral, 6th August 2020

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.

Details for joining the Witness on Sunday 9th August 2020

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered – Call for nuclear powers to sign UN Treaty

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. 

Time to Cancel Trident?

Bruce Kent, vice president of CND, writes:

Our Chancellor says that this is the time to be bold. Hence billions of pounds of extra spending to get us through the current crisis.

Some of his boldness makes good sense. Those unemployed as a result of this crisis will get some protection.

One more obvious piece of boldness would be to cancel the Trident submarine nuclear replacement project, now costed at £205 billion.

Read full letter on Independent Catholic News…

Bruce Kent, ICN News

Shift in Church position on deterrence and possession of nuclear weapons

Source: Pax Christi

https://i1.wp.com/paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Pat-Pope-300x217.jpgIt 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.

Read the full text of the address by Pope Francis here:
http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2017/11/10/171110e.html

Churches worldwide welcome treaty banning nuclear weapons

HIroshimaNuclear 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.

For more details see: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/32943