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Pope Francis: the possession of nuclear weapons should be firmly condemned via Catholic Herald

Pope Francis indicated that deterrence is no longer acceptable

The existence of nuclear weapons creates a false sense of security that holds international relations hostage and stifles peaceful coexistence, Pope Francis said.

“The threat of their use as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned,” the pope told participants at a conference on nuclear disarmament hosted by the Vatican.

For years, popes and Catholic leaders had said the policy of nuclear deterrence could be morally acceptable as long as real work was underway on a complete ban of the weapons. In condemning possession of the weapons, Pope Francis seemed to indicate that deterrence is no longer acceptable.

Nuclear weapons “exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race,” he said.

[…]

Several speakers, including Masako Wada, one of the last survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, were to discuss the suffering wrought by nuclear arms.

Pope Francis told the group that the “essential” witness of survivors of the bombings in Japan as well as those suffering the effects of nuclear weapons testing are prophetic voices that serve “as a warning, above all for coming generations.”

[…]

At a pre-conference event in Rome Nov. 9, Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, professor of ethics and global human development at Georgetown University, and Carole Sargent, director of the university’s Office of Scholarly Publications, outlined what they saw as major progress in 2017 toward a ban on nuclear weapons.

The work of grass-roots movements and organizations, including the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the Nobel Peace Prize, has been particularly important, Father Christiansen said. And not to be ignored are hundreds of Catholic women religious who have engaged in major protests, but also dedicated lobbying efforts. Sargent has been researching the grassroots involvement of women religious, especially in Japan, the United States and Great Britain.

The Vatican conference, Father Christiansen said, could be a major push in getting the new U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons “supported around the world.”

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