As the leaders of the G7 nations gather in Hiroshima this weekend (May 19-21, 2023), four Catholic prelates have written an open letter urging these most powerful countries in the world to take action to stop the threat of nuclear war.
Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle, WA and Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, NM (who wrote “Living in the light of Christ’s peace,” a pastoral letter calling for nuclear disarmament, in 2022) have joined with Archbishop Peter Michiaki Nakamura of Nagasaki and Bishop Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama, of Hiroshima, in issuing a message urging immediate action to prevent further proliferation of nuclear arms, with concrete steps to take.
As the Roman Catholic spiritual leaders of the diocese with the most spending on nuclear weapons in the United States (Santa Fe, NM), the diocese with the most deployed strategic nuclear weapons in the United States (Seattle, WA), and the only two dioceses in the world to have suffered atomic attacks (Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan), we are compelled by providence to speak out.Archbishops Wester, Etienne, Nakamura and Bishop Shirahama, May 15, 2023
The letter requests that the G7 leaders:
- acknowledge the tremendous, long-lasting human suffering the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings inflicted upon the hibakusha (the survivors of the bombings); acknowledge the tremendous, long-lasting human suffering that production and nuclear weapons testing caused to downwinders around the world;
- reiterate a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, as well as emphasize that, as the G20 agreed to in November 2022, the use and the threat of use of nuclear weapons are “inadmissible”;
- reaffirm the goal of a future world free of nuclear weapons;
- announce and commit to concrete steps to prevent a new arms race, guard against nuclear
weapons use, and advance nuclear disarmament;
- reiterate that serious talks should be restored between the United States and Russia to renew full implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and to negotiate a follow-on treaty; and finally,
- honor the international mandate to enter into serious multilateral negotiations leading to
nuclear disarmament, pledged more than a half-century ago in the 1970 Non Proliferation
Pax Christi USA applauds the efforts and clear message of the bishops; we hope and pray that world leaders will commit to end the manufacturing of these weapons of mass destruction and to alleviate the damage already caused by the arms race.