NOTE: Last month, the following letter was issued by Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle. Pax Christi USA applauds efforts like this one from Archbishop Etienne and it’s support of the pastoral letter from Archbishop John C. Wester delivered earlier this year.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am increasingly troubled by Russia’s war against Ukraine. The irresponsible threats by President Putin to use nuclear weapons are of grave concern. Nearly every day, there is another development that increases international tensions. To reinforce what could happen, this October marks the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war.
In this Archdiocese, less than twenty miles west of Seattle on the Kitsap Peninsula, the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base has the largest number of deployed U.S. nuclear weapons. Because Puget Sound could be on the front line in a nuclear war, I feel an urgent obligation that we review our Catholic teaching on nuclear weapons and the need to sharply reduce these weapons of mass destruction until we can eliminate them.
The manufacture of nuclear weapons has already caused significant damage to humans and God’s creation. Within Washington state, production of nuclear weapons contaminated the Hanford nuclear site and areas around two uranium mines near Spokane. Thousands of workers and people living downwind of these contaminated sites were exposed to harmful levels of radiation.
God calls us to build a global community where the whole human family can flourish. The current situation requires a prophetic stance. Pope Francis declared in Hiroshima in 2019: “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral.”…