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As G7 leaders meet, Pope warns of threat posed by nuclear weapons

May 22, 2023

As leaders of the G7 nations held a summit in Hiroshima, Pope Francis warned of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons.

An estimated 100,000 people in the Japanese city died after the dropping of the atomic bomb there on August 6, 1945.

Recalling his 2019 visit to Hiroshima, Pope Francis wrote in a May 19 letter that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is, today more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future for our common home.”

“The events of the past few years have made it clear that only together, in fraternity and solidarity, can our human family seek to heal wounds and build a just and peaceful world,” the Pope said in his letter to Bishop Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama, PSS, of Hiroshima.

Pope Francis called for “responsible multilateral cooperation” and for an integral global security “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.”

The Pope added:

Hiroshima, as “a symbol of memory,” forcefully proclaims the inadequacy of nuclear arms to respond effectively to today’s great threats to peace and to ensure national and international security. We need but consider the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental impact that will result from the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the waste and poor allocation of human and economic resources involved in their development.

Nor should we underestimate the effects of the continuing climate of fear and suspicion generated by their mere possession, which compromises the growth of a climate of mutual trust and dialogue. In this context, nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction represent a multiplier of risk that offers only an illusion of peace.


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