Catholic World News

US bishops again urge: Ratify nuclear weapons treaty

December 01, 2010

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has again urged the US Senate to ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on April 8.

“As bishops, we are pastors and teachers, not technical experts,” said Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. “We cannot comment on every technical aspect of the pending Treaty, but we can offer moral direction and encouragement. Both the Holy See and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops support the New START Treaty because it is a modest step toward a world with greater respect for human life.”

“The Church’s concern for nuclear weapons grows out of its commitment to the sanctity of human life,” he continued. “This commitment led to the development of just war criteria, including the principles of discrimination and proportionality. Nuclear weapons are a grave threat to human life and dignity. Nuclear war is rejected in Church teaching because the use of nuclear weapons cannot ensure noncombatant immunity and their destructive potential and lingering radiation cannot be meaningfully proportionate. Pope Benedict XVI said in a January 2006 statement, ‘In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims.’”

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  • Posted by: impossible - Dec. 02, 2010 5:37 PM ET USA

    A national organization of Bishops would have some value if they concentrated on doing what they are supposed to do instead of operating as surrogates for the political liberals/progressives. As presently organized and operating they are a disgrace and an embarrassment.

  • Posted by: BobJ70777069 - Dec. 02, 2010 3:42 PM ET USA

    Amen, Chestertonian, although I believe it would be more correct to say that US Catholics will CONTINUE to ignore the USCCB as fuzzy-headed and inconsequential.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Dec. 01, 2010 7:13 PM ET USA

    It is one thing for the bishops to support nuclear arms reduction in principle, but quite another to support this treaty specifically. They are, indeed, overstepping the limits of their expertise here. If they wanted to get this far into it, then they should have consulted experts on strategic weapons and weapons treaty negotiations prior to issuing what amounts to an irresponsible statement. This action, once again, will cause US Catholics to mistrust and/or ignore the USCCB.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Dec. 01, 2010 3:32 PM ET USA

    This is a wrong-headed prudential judgment about a bad treaty. First, you don't trust Russia. Second this sends the wrong signals to rogue states about the willingness of the US to and with rogue states possessing nuclear weapons. Think Korea, Iran, China etc.This is another version of Neville Chamberlain style blindness "peace in our time." Nuke weapon treaties are not the bishops' expertise.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 01, 2010 1:51 PM ET USA

    The USCCB should collaborate with their Russian counterpart and issue a joint statement

  • Posted by: sparch - Dec. 01, 2010 10:52 AM ET USA

    I do wish the bishops would stop commenting on things they admittedly have no expertice. Everybody wants the end of nuclear weapons, but at what cost to the United States? If they would instruct their flocks, which includes those in congress, the moral direction for everyone would be a whole lot clearer.