Pope Francis has condemned not only the use of nuclear weapons, but their very possession.
He was speaking during a conference hosted by the Vatican on 9 and 10 November. Cardinals and bishops from around the world, representatives of several governments and experts on nuclear disarmament attended the conference, as did eleven Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The current winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), was the guest of honour. PAX is one of the driving forces behind the campaign.
False sense of security
“If we… take into account the risk of an 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,” said Francis. “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity.”
With this, Pope Francis is taking a firmer stance against nuclear weapons than any of his predecessors. He is also addressing the countries that possess nuclear weapons directly. The pope’s strong statements come in the wake of two breakthroughs this year in the fight against nuclear weapons: the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted at the UN in July and ICAN being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October.
Susi Snyder, PAX programme leader for nuclear disarmament, also spoke at the Vatican conference. She stressed the important role of civil society in reaching these and previous breakthroughs: “Civil society has brought the discussion of nuclear weapons back to the forefront. Whereas the discussion was focused on deterrence, the question now is whether it’s ever acceptable to threaten a country with total destruction using nuclear weapons, or to cause such destruction.”
Read Snyder´s blog: I’ve never been so worried about a dress
See the website nonukes.nl