“A world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary”
Pope Francis calls for abolition!
by Arielle Denis
On Sunday, November 24, 2019, in the Memorial Park of the victims of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, at the very center of the explosion, Pope Francis gave the clear and definitive position of the Catholic Church against nuclear weapons and deterrence, urging governments to give up nuclear weapons and “to build a world of peace that does not lie falsely on the possession of this weapon and the threat of destruction to deter possible aggressors. ”
It’s a real diplomatic thunderbolt! “Nuclear weapons are a crime, not only against humankind and dignity, but also against any possibility of future in our common house.” By words of great force in the mouth of both a Head of State and a spiritual authority, Pope Francis launched a highly argued anathema against nuclear weapons.
For years, the Holy See has spared deterrence, even though since 1965 and the Second Vatican Council, they condemned the arms race “which is not a sure way for a firm peacekeeping, and the so-called balance that as a result is neither a stable peace nor a true peace. ” John Paul II, considers it a” necessary evil “and in a message to the United Nations in 1982, he believes that ” a deterrence based on balance, not as an end in itself but as a step towards progressive disarmament, can still be judged as morally acceptable.” In 2006, the tone of Benedict XVI is firmer: “What to say (…) governments that rely on nuclear weapons to ensure the security of their country? With countless people of good will, it can be said that this perspective, apart from the fact that it is fatal, is utterly fallacious. ”
Courageous and lucid, Pope Francis put an end at the middle ground and the Catholic Church has now a clear injunction: “the use of nuclear weapons is immoral, that is why it must be written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, not only the use, but also the possession, because an accident, or the madness of a ruler, the madness of one can destroy humanity ”
This position, building up for two years, had already led the Vatican to be the first country to ratify the Treaty of Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). A support he reaffirmed as follows: “We (the Catholic Church) can never be weary of working and sustaining with persistence the main international legal instruments of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. ”
This statement comes on the eve of a crucial year for nuclear weapons: the NPT Review Conference, the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and, -if 17 countries ratify it among the 80 countries that have already signed it-, the entry into force of the TPNW. The mobilization of Catholics would be an important contribution, especially in Europe, where more and more voices in France and Germany are considering putting nuclear weapons into the European army project.
We must hammer it out like Pope Francis: nuclear weapons “do not defend us against threats to the national and international security of our time” by adding: “In today’s world, where millions of children and families live in inhuman conditions, the money spent and the fortunes gained in the manufacture, modernization, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons are a continual outrage that cries to the sky “.