Vatican position on nuclear weapons welcomed by Christian campaigners

Pope Francis has said that nuclear weapons reflect a “mentality of fear” during a two-day conference on nuclear disarmament at the Vatican. The conference saw the Catholic Church move away from conditional acceptance of the doctrine of “nuclear deterrence” and to push for nuclear disarmament. Statements that have been welcomed by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The conference was held from 10-11 November and heard from church leaders, diplomats, politicians and representatives of Nobel Peace Prizes winners the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Christian CND has been working closely with ICAN on taking the message of nuclear disarmament into the Catholic Church.

During the Cold War that Catholic Church had accepted “deterrence” as a balance between the major global powers, as long as it was seen as a step to disarmament. This position has now changed however, with Stephen Colecchi, director of the US bishops’ conference’s Office of International Justice and Peace saying the plans to modernise global nuclear arsenals means “deterrence is on very thin moral ground”

The Vatican initiative comes shortly after the United Nations agreed a ground breaking Treaty which will ban nuclear weapons and against a backdrop of increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula with both sides making inflammatory threats.

ICAN was the driving force behind the Treaty, with the support of Christian CND and others. During the negotiations of the Treaty Christian CND representatives met the Holy See delegation in New York and Vienna. The Holy See was one of the first states to sign and ratify the Treaty when it opened for signature in September.

Christian CND Co-Chair Martin Birdseye said: “Nuclear weapons have the potential to destroy God’s creation, and there can never be moral justification for that. The move of the Catholic Church is very welcome and Christian CND urges all believers to take this message into their communities. At a time when the use of nuclear weapons seems nearer than anytime in the past 50 years we must all be working and praying to be rid of these weapons.”

Christian CND is holding a conference on Saturday 25 November in Bristol where the Vatican Conference and the Ban Treaty will be discussed in more detail. More information is available on the Christian CND website.

Vatican Conference on Nuclear Disarmament

A major two day conference on nuclear disarmament is set to begin in the Vatican with experts and leaders from around the world coming together for discussion.

The conference will hear from representatives from the United Nations, NATO, governments and Nobel Peace Prize winners ICAN. Ahead of the conference Cardinal Peter Turkson said the event “responds to the priorities of Pope Francis to take action for world peace and to use the resources of creation for a sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for all, individuals and countries, without discrimination.”

The conference follows the agreement of a new Treaty at the United Nations which will ban nuclear weapons. The Holy See was one of the first states to sign and ratify the Treaty. During the negotiations the Pope made statements in support and Christian CND were delighted to meet the Holy See delegation in New York. Pope Francis will meet delegates on Saturday 10 November.

Ahead of the meeting Christian CND is support Pax Christi in calling on Christians to fast and pray for a positive outcome. More information is available in the Prayer section of our website.

You will be able to hear more about the conference at the Christian CND AGM in Bristol later this month. Register for your free ticket on Eventbrite.

Christian CND participates in Religions for Peace meeting

On Wednesday October 25 Christian CND Co-Chair Martin Birdseye spoke on behalf at a meeting of Religions for Peace on the United Nations Treaty which will ban nuclear weapons. The focus of the meeting was what faith organisations can do in the future to campaign on the issue.

Christian CND has been working on the Ban Treaty for some time, and representatives were at the first round of negotiations on the text at the UN earlier this year. As a result of the meeting, which attracted a good audience to Friends House, more inter-faith work is planned.

You can find out more about the Ban Treaty and the work of Christian CND at our upcoming AGM and Conference, which takes place in Bristol on Saturday 25 November. Tickets are free and you can register through Eventbrite.

Contact your MP to take action on Nuclear Ban Treaty

The United Nations Treaty which bans nuclear weapons continues to be in the news as a result of ICAN winning the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month. More than 50 countries from around the world have already signed the Treaty and ratifications are starting in those countries.

With the UK still refusing to engage in the process, MPs from across the House of Commons have tabled an Early Day Motion calling for action to be taken. An Early Day Motion is a chance for MPs to show the level of support for particular issues, so it is vital that as many as possible sign up.

National CND has a tool on their website which you can use to contact your MP. It only takes a couple a minutes. Please write and bring this important issue to the attention of your MP.

Write to your MP today
Read Christian CND briefing on the Ban Treaty
Donate to help us continue our work

Christian CND supports civil society statement on nuclear disarmament

Christian CND has joined civil society groups from around the world in endorsing a statement to the UN First Committee, which is currently meeting in New York to discuss issues around disarmament.

The statement notes the “extraordinarily perilous” situation facing the world as the US and North Korea continue to raise tensions. It calls for a diplomatic solution to be found.

The statement goes on to call for nuclear-armed states to participate at the UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament planned for 2018. Christian CND will be calling on the UK government to attend.

You can read the full statement here