Global peace, security demand an end to nuclear weapons, pope tells U.N.

IMAGE: CNS photo/Rick Bajornas, UN

By Carol Glatz

threats to global peace and security must be countered through dialogue and
development, not nuclear weapons, Pope Francis told the United Nations.

“How sustainable is a
stability based on fear, when it actually increases fear and undermines
relationships of trust between peoples,” the pope asked in a letter sent
to a U.N. meeting on nuclear arms.

“International peace and
stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual
destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power,”
he said in the message, released by the Vatican March 28. The message was read
aloud at the U.N. by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Vatican undersecretary for relations with states.

The pope’s message was sent to Elayne
Whyte Gomez, president of the U.N. Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument
to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards Their Total Elimination. The
conference was being held at the U.N. headquarters in New York March 27-31,
with a follow-up meeting June 15-July 7.

A number of nations — many of
which already possess nuclear arms — were boycotting the negotiations to ban
such weapons. These included the United States, France, the United Kingdom and
about 40 other nations. Some continue to support the Non-Proliferation Treaty
to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told
reporters in New York March 28 that it was the responsibility of leaders to
keep their nations safe.

“There is nothing I want
more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be
realistic,” Haley said.

“In this day and time, we
can’t honestly say that we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to
have them and those of us that are good, trying to keep peace and safety, not
to have them,” she said.

However, Pope Francis said in
his message that the strategy of nuclear deterrence was not an effective response
to today’s threats to peace and security: terrorism, cybersecurity,
environmental problems and poverty.

“Peace must be built on
justice, on integral human development, on respect for fundamental human
rights, on the protection of creation, on the participation of all in public
life, on trust between peoples, on the support of peaceful institutions, on
access to education and health, on dialogue and solidarity,” he said.

The world needs “to adopt
forward-looking strategies to promote the goal of peace and stability and to
avoid short-sighted approaches to the problems surrounding national and
international security,” he said.

The complete elimination of
nuclear weapons is “a moral and humanitarian imperative” that should
prompt people to reflect on “an ethics of peace and multilateral and
cooperative security that goes beyond the fear and isolationism that prevail in
many debates today.”

Making a total global ban
possible will demand more dialogue, trust and cooperation. “This trust can
be built only through dialogue that is truly directed to the common good and
not to the protection of veiled or particular interests,” he added.

Humanity has the ability,
freedom and intelligence to work together to “lead and direct technology,
to place limits on our power, and to put all this at the service of another
type of progress: one that is more human, social and integral,” he said.

– – –

Follow Glatz on Twitter:

– – –

Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article