USCCB Joins Call To White House To Change Nuclear Policy, Delivers Petition With 50,000 Signatures

May 15, 2012 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Representatives ofvarious groups advocating nuclear arms reduction, including the U.S. Conferenceof Catholic Bishops (USCCB), presented a petition with over 50,000 signaturesto the White House. The petition urges President Obama to reduce the role and numberof nuclear weapons as he makes a once-in-a-decade decision on the Presidentialnuclear weapons policy “guidance.”

The White House received thepetition at a May 7 meeting with Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisorfor strategic communications and speechwriting. Stephen Colecchi, USCCB’sdirector of International Justice and Peace, represented the U.S. bishops. Leadersof arms control groups, including the Arms Control Association, the Council fora Livable World and Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, and theUnion of Concerned Scientists, also participated in the meeting.

“In the 21st Century, nuclearweapons are a global liability, not an asset,” the petition said, calling onthe President to “end outdated U.S. nuclear war-fighting strategy, dramaticallyreduce the number of U.S. nuclear weapons and the number of submarines,missiles, and bombers that carry those weapons, and take U.S. nuclear weaponsoff high alert. Maintaining large numbers of nuclear forces on alert increasesthe risk of accident or miscalculation.”

In response to the petition, Rhodessaid, “The White House appreciates the engagement of citizens across ourcountry who support efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek thepeace and security of a world without them. This type of grassroots activism iscritical to build awareness around the dangers of nuclear weapons, and tosupport common sense arms control policies.”

In a March 2 letter to NationalSecurity Advisor Thomas E. Donilon, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines,Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, reiteratedthe position of Catholic teaching, the Vatican and the U.S. bishops: “Fordecades they have promoted the twin and interrelated policy goals of nuclear disarmamentand non-proliferation. USCCB understands this is an ideal that will take yearsto reach, but it is a task which our nation must take up with renewed energy.”

The full text of Bishop Pates’ letteris available online:


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