Bishop Pates to Energy Secretary: Plan To Upgrade Nuclear Forces Undermines Quest for Disarmament

October 30, 2014 By Public Affairs Office
WASHINGTON—The United States should pursue non-proliferation and diplomacy to promote U.S. and global security, not allocate funds to modernize its nuclear forces, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace in an October 30 letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. In the letter, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, noted that the Congressional Budget Office estimates $355 billion in spending on nuclear forces over the next decade, much of that toward modernizing those forces.

“The current U.S. plan to maintain and upgrade its nuclear arsenal undermines the quest for nuclear disarmament,” wrote Bishop Pates. “The seeming indefinite reliance of the United States on a policy of nuclear deterrence, especially one that includes significant new investments in nuclear weapons, undermines President Obama’s stated goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Excessive spending on nuclear weapons also undermines long-term initiatives to promote human security.”

Bishop Pates contrasted the projected annual expenditure of $35.5 billion per year for nuclear weapons with President Obama’s proposed $20 billion for poverty-focused international assistance for 2015. He also noted that the Catholic Church has called for a global ban on nuclear weapons since 1963, a goal reiterated by Pope Francis this year.

“We believe this critical goal can be achieved by responsibly replacing nuclear deterrence with concrete measures of disarmament based on dialogue and multilateral negotiations. Such a shift will create a world that is truly free from the nuclear threat,” Bishop Pates wrote.

Full text of the letter is available online:
Keywords: USCCB, nuclear weapons, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Richard E. Pates, International Justice and Peace, Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, President Barack Obama, nuclear disarmament, Vatican, Pope Francis
# # # # #

Don Clemmer
O: 202-541-3206