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://i0.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:

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