On these solemn days, as we remember the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Pax Christi International offers a message of hope.
In his first World Day of Peace Message, Pope Francis spoke of community as the pathway to peace:
“The ever-increasing number of interconnections and communications in today’s world makes us powerfully aware of the unity and common destiny of the nations. In the dynamics of history, and in the diversity of ethnic groups, societies and cultures, we see the seeds of a vocation to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another. But this vocation is still frequently denied and ignored in a world marked by a globalization of indifference which makes us slowly inured to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves.”
That indifference fuels not only the armed conflicts raging across our globe today, but also an unconscionable and exorbitant commitment by a handful of the most powerful states to maintain and constantly modernize arsenals of nuclear weapons whose destructive potential is vast even compared to the tragic devastation in Japan whose anniversary we mark today. For that reason, Pope Francis has called for nuclear disarmament as a first step to reverse the nuclear disorder that thwarts humanity’s potential for justice and global solidarity.
Indeed, this message was echoed by the Permanent Observer of the Holy See, Archbishop Francis Chullikat, in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s review process this spring:
“The military doctrine of nuclear deterrence is regarded by a great number of countries as a prime obstacle to meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament. It exists as an elemental part of security force structures that hinder the development of our globalized and interdependent world. Moreover, it is used to justify the modernization of existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons, thus obstructing genuine nuclear disarmament…The logical course of action is clear: urgent and expedited progress leading to a global ban on nuclear weapons to accompany the global ban on other weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons.”
Pax Christi International remains convinced that the outdated policy of nuclear deterrence, to which the nuclear weapons states cling so arrogantly, remains the greatest obstacle to the achievement of a nuclear weapons free world. We echo the voices of many peace organizations regarding the unacceptably slow pace of arsenal reduction and the insufficiently courageous implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s mandate for disarmament.
Pax Christi International, as a global movement of persons whose daily work for peace embodies hope, is encouraged by the increasing commitment of non-nuclear-armed nations to build a consensus around the urgent need to act. A series of conferences on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons has occurred in Oslo and Nayarit; a third is planned for Vienna, and public opinion appears to have been mobilising around this initiative since its beginning in September 2013. The Oslo-Nayarit-Vienna process offers us concrete hope that an increasing number of nations are prepared to move forward to the total elimination of and permanent ban on nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are incompatible with peace in our century, and they are incompatible with the survival of human civilisation in the long term….