- Jan 17, 2020
In a letter to a UN congress promoting the elimination of atomic weapons, Pope Francis wrote that nuclear deterrence is ineffective against the principal threats in the twenty-first century, mentioning in particular terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, and poverty. The pontiff said the international community must consider “the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences” that would follow from any use of nuclear weapons.
The chairman of a U.S. bishops’ committee, Bishop Oscar Cantu, urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to accelerate verifiable nuclear disarmament in a letter dated February 14. The letter pressed to ensure that both countries build on the New START agreement, that calls for reducing their strategic arsenals.
The United Nations promises to initiate talks on nuclear weapon disarmament, as member states grow impatient with the slow pace of the negotiations. Though to some it might serve as a first step toward global disarmament many remain skeptical about future results.
As far back as Pope Pius XII popes and the Vatican have been denouncing nuclear weapons and calling for complete nuclear disarmament, and the pope’s envoy to the United Nations was at it again this week, insisting on respect for the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
“The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there,” says Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with States.
Following a Rome encounter between a delegation of U.S. bishops and leading Islamic clergy from Iran, the two sides have issued a declaration calling for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and also insisting that the guilt for terrorist acts cannot be assigned to an entire religion.