U.S. bishops stand with the pope calling for a world without nuclear arms

U.S. nuclear test, 1954, in the Northern Pacific. (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON—A statement issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops calls for action on the path to nuclear disarmament.

In the wake of Pope Francis’ powerful appeal for a world that is free from atomic warfare, and his affirmation that not only the deployment, but also the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral, the Catholic Bishops of the United States issued a statement calling on their nation “to exercise global leadership for mutual, verifiable nuclear disarmament”.

The Catholic bishops of the United States, the statement continues, remain firmly committed to global nuclear disarmament.

“We declared in 1993: ‘The eventual elimination of nuclear weapons is more than a moral ideal; it should be a policy goal,’” the bishops stated.

The statement notes that the United States and Russia have over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.

“This fact alone,” the statement concludes, “calls for our nation to exercise global leadership for mutual, verifiable nuclear disarmament. The extension of New START Treaty with Russia would be a prudent next step.”

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) was signed April 8, 2010, in Prague by Russia and the United States and entered into force on Feb. 5, 2011. It replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired December 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT).

New START continues the bipartisan process of verifiably reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals begun by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Both Russia and the United States announced that they met New START limitations by Feb. 5, 2018.

By Linda Bordoni