by David Atwood
Pax Christi Texas
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and his subtle threat to use nuclear weapons if opposed by NATO, gives renewed importance to Pope Francis’ plea for all nations to abolish their nuclear arsenals.
In 2019 Pope Francis said, “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral.” Note that he does not approve of nuclear weapons for reasons of “deterrence”. Furthermore, the Vatican was the first nation to sign and ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This treaty has been signed by 122 countries, but no nation that currently has nuclear weapons has signed it. That includes the United States, which is the only nation to actually use these weapons in war. Instead the U.S. has plans to spend billions of dollars to “modernize” its current arsenal.
Currently, there are eight nations that possess nuclear weapons in addition to the United States: Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. And other countries such as Iran would like to have these weapons.
One problem is, as we have recently seen with Russia, if a country headed by an autocrat decides to invade another nation, it can threaten the use of nuclear weapons to prevent other countries from responding.
And of course, there is always the possibility that nuclear weapons will be used accidentally.
The reality is, if we do not get rid of these weapons, they probably will be used at some point, causing catastrophic harm to humanity and all life on the planet.