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

Crisis in Yemen – International Day of Action 25th January 2021

BBC Documentary

The BBC has highlighted the on-going disaster in Yemen in a programme on 18 January 2021 which is now available on iPlayer

BBC iPlayer – Yemen: Coronavirus in a War Zone

Justice & Peace Scotland – Crisis in Yemen Event – Sunday 24th January 4.30pm

The conflict in Yemen is one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, their suffering driven by UK made weapons.

Ahead of the International Day of Action for Yemen (Monday 25th January) Justice and Peace Scotland invites you to hear more about the devastating links between arms manufactures here and the devastating conflict in Yemen on Sunday 24 January 2021 at 4.30pm.

Speakers include:

Emma Cockburn is the Scotland Coordinator at Campaign Against Arms Trade and is responsible for highlighting Scotland’s contribution to the UK’s arms trade. Emma is currently working on supporting defence diversification projects and arms divestment opportunities across the country. Coming from an anti-nuclear and trade union background, Emma is passionate about empowering activists to create lasting change and is currently involved in creating a reporting detailing the arms industry’s influence in Scotland.”

Rev Daniel Woodhouse a Methodist minister currently serving in the Brighton and Hove Methodist Circuit. Over the past 15 years has been involved in many different forms of anti-arms activism, including a break in at BAE-Systems Warton over the sale of Jets to Saudi Arabia and their use in Yemen.

To book tickets to attend Crisis in Yemen click here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/crisis-in-yemen-tickets-135651732985

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

Peace Sunday 2021 National Liturgy – Saturday 16th January, 6pm on Zoom

Join Pax Christi to reflect on Pope Francis’ World Peace Day Message ‘A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace’.

About this Event

Together we will gather on zoom to pray, share and reflect on Pope Francis’ message ‘A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace’. We will explore what this message calls us to do as peacemakers and how we respond to the call to live nonviolently.

Register with Eventbrite

If you have any questions or problems registering for this event, please contact the office at admin@paxchristi.org.uk

This year has been one of unprecedented and continuing challenges. We are all conscious of the need to restore and rebuild our communities here and around the world, accepting that we need new ways of working and relating to each other.   The Christian message of peace, through reconciliation, justice and nonviolence, can offer hope and direction in these times.  I invite you to seriously consider facilitating a collection for, or making a donation to, the work of Pax Christi at this time as a way to make a practical contribution to continuing the work of peace

Pax Christi National President, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

Peace Sunday resources can be found here: https://paxchristi.org.uk/peace-sunday-2021/    

Contact: info@paxchristi.org.uk

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

Press Statement on the scheduled annexation of Palestinian West Bank territory on 1st July 2020

“Westminster Justice & Peace Commission stands with people of the Holy Land in the face of plans for unilateral Israeli annexation of West Bank Palestinian territory, scheduled for 1st July 2020. Our condemnation follows that of the united Church leadership in the Holy Land, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and that of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Prominent Jewish  members of British society have also expressed alarm at the prospect.

Annexation will all but destroy chances for a negotiated peace, further limiting prospects of establishing a Palestinian state. More violence is likely and  the lives of Palestinians, suffering already under Israeli occupation, will be further degraded.  It will do nothing to enhance Israel’s standing in the world.

The Commission calls on Israel and the United States to respect International Law and existing UN resolutions and to abandon such a reckless plan, in the name of justice and peace.”

Statement on the Annexation from the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, 24th June 2020