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

Use this link to read the letter from Archbishop Etienne, Archbishop Wester, Archbishop Nakamura, and Bishop Shirahama.

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.

Use this link to find more information about our work on nuclear disarmament.

6 thoughts on “Archbishops Etienne, Wester issue letter with bishops of Hiroshima, Nagasaki to urge nuclear disarmament

  1. YES! To all of the above! It’s about time!
    Hoping and praying that the open letter by U.S. Catholic Bishops help move the powers that be into peace mode,

    Carolyn McDonnell

  2. A good place to start would be for the USCCB and Pope Francis in unison to demand, not ask or “pray fully consider,” President Biden to stop, under pain of mortal sin, the obscene weaponization of Ukraine and instead to begin serious give and take negotiations instead of the sophomoric attitude of “winning.” We (NATO and the U.S) are relentlessly and suicidally pushing the Russian bear into a corner that must only end in a nuclear bloodbath. Now is not the time for Catholic political prudence. If the Catholic Church really stands for life, it’s time to act fearlessly before it’s too late to turn back the atomic clock.
    David-Ross Gerling, PhD

  3. Nuclear Disarmament: Mutual or Unilateral?

    It seems that it’s taking a long time to get nuclear disarmament. We may never get it unless we set the example of disarming unilaterally. However, to do so means that we will probably have to tolerate a form of slavery, at least until we develop non-violent means to resist the unjust aggression.

  4. It is not whether we totaly get rid of all nuclear weapons, but that we not remain silent in the face of the this madness, speaking of developing more usable tactical nuclear weapons
    thanks for all the bishops who speak and not remain silent
    Fr Ed Schleter

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