A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament

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by Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican


In recent times, there are many calls from various sources to work diligently toward the goal of nuclear disarmament. In the month of August, we remembered the thousands who lost their lives when the US dropped bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Another recent event was the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that led to a fatal accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant causing the loss of many lives and the destruction of the environment.


This led hundreds of thousands of people in Berlin to take to the streets calling for nuclear disarmament. Eight nuclear plants were shut down and the remainder will be abolished by 2022. Leaders in Germany are also making plans to develop alternative energy sources that are safe and clean and will create more jobs.


Leaders of the Catholic Church and other denominations are also speaking out boldly and clearly for the total disarmament of nuclear weapons. In July 2011, the Vatican Ambassador to the UN, Archbishop Chullikatt was invited to give a talk on the subject to an audience in Kansas City. (Aug. 4th issue of Origins gives a full report on this talk,  pages 173-178).


The Archbishop declared that “nuclear weapons have threatened humanity for far too long and the world leaders lack the political will to remove the scourge.” He feels now is the time to make a major change in our thinking of nuclear weapons. The money we spend on developing and using the weapons is a gross misplacement of priorities, especially in a world where people are dying of hunger, disease and lack of basic resources. The Archbishop emphasizes that building nuclear arsenals “is nothing short of sinful.” Then he asks us a very important question: “Who gives us the right to take a human life and destroy it?” This is a good question for all of us to ask ourselves.  

The goal is to work toward a world free of all nuclear weaponry. To accomplish this we need a universal plan to address the issue effectively.


In “Gaudium et Spes”, the church condemns any use of nuclear weapons and the act of war that could wipe out entire communities and “merit unequivocal

 Condemnation.” Pope Benedict XV1 also spoke at the World Day of Peace in 2006. He asks the question: “What can be said of governments that spend huge amounts of money on nuclear arms while so many are in need?” All of the presenters mentioned here state that nuclear arms do not bring security. They only bring more disaster. In a nuclear war there are no victors, only victims.


The safety issue was also addressed. Even if the nuclear power is developed for a seemingly good cause such as energy use, there is an ongoing danger that any nuclear power developed can be converted to destructive causes and have disastrous results.


What can people do to address this issue?

  • Learn about the issues and the threat of nuclear development to the entire human race.

  • Develop a dream that can be shared with people of all ages – to create a world without nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

  • Pray for peace and work to create a culture of respect for the dignity of all human life.

  • Write letters to the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, and urge him and other UN leaders to pay urgent attention to the issue of nuclear disarmament.

  • Write letters to leaders of nations that are working toward this goal and encourage them to continue the mission of nuclear disarmament and of finding other sources of energy that are clean, safe. and sustainable.   

  • Write to President Barack Obama and other legislators urging them to speak out boldly against any use of nuclear energy and to divert the trillions of dollars used on nuclear development to human development and meeting basic human needs. Urge them to work toward a universal solution as the only real solution to the problem

  • Develop alternative clean energy sources that will create more jobs and help the economy.

  • Believe that another world is possible and no effort is too small to make a difference. We need to make our voices heard, loud and clear, and continue to work and continue the work with hope for the sake of the safety and security of the whole human race.

Today forty nations have the capacity to use nuclear power. That calls for a clear, universal plan to solve the problem. If nations came together to plan for peace and not for war, what a different world this would be. A new level of cooperation at many different levels is needed to bring it about. Let us begin today, trusting in divine presence and assistance, without which it will not happen. Let us continue the journey with courage, conviction and hope.


“Lord, make us channels of Your peace.”


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