Pope warns nuclear weapons offer no security

Francis wrote to the bishop of the Japanese martyr city hosting the summit. Nuclear weapons are a “risk that offers only an illusion of peace.” Instead, “responsible multilateral cooperation” is needed to provide “access to food and water, respect for the environment, health care, energy sources and the equitable distribution of the world’s goods.”

May 22, 2023

VATICAN: Pope Francis wrote to Bishop Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima on the occasion of the G7 summit currently underway in the Japanese city, site of the first atomic bombing on 6 August 1945.

In his letter, the pontiff says that, “nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction represent a multiplier of risk that offers only an illusion of peace”, directly focusing on the dangers of a nuclear arms race in Asia, driven by tensions over Taiwan, North Korea, and the South China Sea.

“As the G7 Summit meets in Hiroshima to discuss urgent issues currently facing the global community, I wish to assure you of my spiritual closeness and my prayers for the fruitfulness of the Summit. The choice of Hiroshima as the site of this meeting is particularly significant, in light of the continuing threat of recourse to nuclear weapons.”

The pope cites his 2019 visit to the Peace Memorial and what he said about atomic weapons as “a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future for our common home”.

“It is to that future to which responsible men and women now look with concern, particularly in the wake of our experience of a global pandemic and the persistence of armed conflicts in various regions, including the devastating war now being fought on Ukrainian soil.”

With respect to fraternity and solidarity in the human family, the pope writes that “in the multipolar world of the twenty-first century, the pursuit of peace is closely related to the need for security and reflection on the most efficient means for guaranteeing it.”

Yet “global security needs to be integral, capable of embracing issues including access to food and water, respect for the environment, health care, energy sources and the equitable distribution of the world’s goods.”

For this reason, he calls on all governmental and non-governmental actors to pursue the path of "responsible multilateral cooperation".

As a "symbol of memory," Hiroshima “forcefully proclaims the inadequacy of nuclear arms to respond effectively to today’s great threats to peace and to ensure national and international security”, not only because of the devastating consequences of a possible use of nuclear weapons, but also because of “waste and poor allocation of human and economic resources” and “the climate of fear and suspicion generated by their mere possession, which compromises the growth of a climate of mutual trust and dialogue.”

In concluding, the pontiff offers the bishop his “prayers for you and for those entrusted to your pastoral care,” and joins him “in praying that the G7 Summit at Hiroshima will demonstrate farsighted vision in laying the foundations for lasting peace and stable and long-term sustainable security.”--Asia News

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