Archbishop Francis Chullikat: Nuclear disarmament

The “nuclear question” is at once complex and straightforward: what do we do with the Cold War legacy of thousands of the most destructive weapons humankind has ever created? For more than 60 years since the dawn of the nuclear age, the world, and particularly the Church, has grappled with the role of these weapons, their legality and the moral implications of their production, deployment and intended use.

What I would like to do here is to share how the development of the Church’s teachings have advanced over the years and what those teachings say to us today. I will then explore the current status of efforts to address these unique weapons and specifically, the position of the Holy See.

As you all are aware, new attention is being paid to the unresolved problem of 20,000 nuclear weapons located at 111 sites in 14 countries. More than half the population of the world lives in a nuclear-armed country. Each year, nations spend $100 billion on maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals.

When we are talking about the nuclear disarmament, the principle of good faith is vital within international law. Essentially, good faith means abiding by agreements in a manner true to their purposes and working sincerely and cooperatively through negotiations to attain agreed objectives.

Therefore, the current modernization of nuclear forces and their technical infrastructure are contrary to such good faith because they make difficult or impossible a negotiated achievement of global nuclear disarmament.

President Ronald Reagan at his second inaugural address in 1985 said: “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth”. I think it is time to follow through on his goal.

Read the complete address of Archbishop Francis Chullikat’ on Nuclear disarmament


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