U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for International Justice and Peace Calls for Remembrance and Support of Nuclear Arms Control
In July 1945, as a key part of the Manhattan Project, the first nuclear weapon was detonated in the desert in New Mexico. Three weeks later the world witnessed the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
WASHINGTON - In July 1945, as a key part of the Manhattan Project, the first nuclear weapon was detonated in the desert in New Mexico. Three weeks later the world witnessed the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Upon the anniversary of these events, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace issued the following statement:
“About 78 years ago, we soberly recall, the United States conducted its first nuclear detonation in New Mexico, paving the way for the development of atomic bombs that would be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sadly, the development of nuclear weapons and threat of nuclear war has continued while arms control architecture is dissolving.
“The Cold War ended over 30 years ago, yet for those who remember, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 brought us to the brink of nuclear annihilation. And only a precious few today remember those fateful events that brought an end to World War II in the Pacific. With the wars and threat of wars today, the menace of over 10,000 nuclear weapons in our world must not recede further from the public consciousness of today’s generation.
“The scourge of the Russia-Ukraine war continues unabated and has included threats of using nuclear weapons. In our emergent multipolar world, state and non-state actors are capitalizing on rapidly developing cyber technologies that are bringing forth weapons systems of increasing sophistication and lethality, compounding the risks of destabilization and miscalculation. New START, the last remaining major nuclear arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia, continues to unravel. The billions of dollars spent on these weapons’ development are precious resources thereby unavailable for other critical needs of human and economic development.
“We must remain vigilant never to lose sight of the extraordinary dangers these weapons pose to humanity. In our efforts to support arms control, we must always be attentive to the differences between just and unjust considerations of statecraft.
“On May 19 of this year, the Holy Father wrote to Bishop Alexis-Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima, on the occasion of the G7 Summit. Recalling his 2019 visit to Japan, Pope Francis reiterated that ‘the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is, today more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future of our common home.’
“It has been said before, and it bears repeating, that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. I call on the Catholic faithful and people of goodwill to pray that the leaders of our nation, and those around the world who govern the control of such weapons, will earnestly seek to make critically needed progress on arms control. Knowing the horrors that can be unleashed in a nuclear war, beseeching Our Lady of Fatima, may these leaders discover new pathways to peace heretofore unseen.”
For more information and resources on the bishops’ teachings related to nuclear disarmament, visit www.usccb.org/nuclear.