US Prelate Highlights Church’s Opposition to Nuclear Weapons
February 18th, 2010
Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, a member of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference Committee on International Justice and Peace, reiterated the church’s opposition to nuclear weapons in an address to the Global Zero summit in Paris earlier this month. The gathering brought together 200 international leaders to develop strategies to eliminate nuclear weapons.
The archbishop underlined the Church’s moral teaching on nuclear weapons, based on its commitment to protect human life. Drawing on the principles of just war teaching, Archbishop O’Brien stated, “Nuclear war-fighting is rejected in Church teaching because it cannot ensure noncombatant immunity and the likely destruction and lingering radiation would violate the principle of proportionality.”
He added that “the continuing possession of nuclear weapons undermines non-proliferation efforts and contributes to the danger of loose nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists.”
“Every nuclear weapons system and every nuclear weapons policy should be judged by the ultimate goal of protecting human life and dignity and the related goal of ridding the world of these weapons in mutually verifiable ways,” the archbishop pointed out.
He continued: “It will not be easy. Nuclear weapons can be dismantled, but both the human knowledge and the technical capability to build weapons cannot be erased….But humanity must walk this path with both care and courage in order to build a future free of the nuclear threat.”
The February summit in Paris was designed to lead up to the Global Summit on Nuclear Security in April, called by U.S. President Barack Obama, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference the following month.