A RENEWED CALL FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT – AN
URGENT ETHICAL ISSUE
by Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican
In recent times, there are many calls from
various sources to work diligently toward the goal of nuclear
disarmament. In the month of August, we remembered the thousands
who lost their lives when the US dropped bombs in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. Another recent event was the earthquake and tsunami in
Japan that led to a fatal accident at the Fukushima nuclear
power plant causing the loss of many lives and the destruction
of the environment.
This led hundreds of thousands of people in
Berlin to take to the streets calling for nuclear disarmament.
Eight nuclear plants were shut down and the remainder will be
abolished by 2022. Leaders in Germany are also making plans to
develop alternative energy sources that are safe and clean and
will create more jobs.
Leaders of the Catholic Church and other
denominations are also speaking out boldly and clearly for the
total disarmament of nuclear weapons. In July 2011, the Vatican
Ambassador to the UN, Archbishop Chullikatt was invited to give
a talk on the subject to an audience in Kansas City. (Aug. 4th
issue of Origins gives a full report on this talk, pages
The Archbishop declared that “nuclear weapons
have threatened humanity for far too long and the world leaders
lack the political will to remove the scourge.” He feels now is
the time to make a major change in our thinking of nuclear
weapons. The money we spend on developing and using the weapons
is a gross misplacement of priorities, especially in a world
where people are dying of hunger, disease and lack of basic
resources. The Archbishop emphasizes that building nuclear
arsenals “is nothing short of sinful.” Then he asks us a very
important question: “Who gives us the right to take a human life
and destroy it?” This is a good question for all of us to ask
The goal is to work toward a world free of all
nuclear weaponry. To accomplish this we need a universal plan to
address the issue effectively.
In “Gaudium et Spes”, the church condemns any use
of nuclear weapons and the act of war that could wipe out entire
communities and “merit unequivocal
Condemnation.” Pope Benedict XV1 also spoke at
the World Day of Peace in 2006. He asks the question: “What can
be said of governments that spend huge amounts of money on
nuclear arms while so many are in need?” All of the presenters
mentioned here state that nuclear arms do not bring security.
They only bring more disaster. In a nuclear war there are no
victors, only victims.
The safety issue was also addressed. Even if the
nuclear power is developed for a seemingly good cause such as
energy use, there is an ongoing danger that any nuclear power
developed can be converted to destructive causes and have
What can people do to address this issue?
Learn about the issues and the
threat of nuclear development to the entire
Develop a dream that can be
shared with people of all ages – to create a
world without nuclear weapons or other weapons
of mass destruction.
Pray for peace and work to create
a culture of respect for the dignity of all
Write letters to the Secretary
General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, and urge him and
other UN leaders to pay urgent attention to the
issue of nuclear disarmament.
Write letters to leaders of
nations that are working toward this goal and
encourage them to continue the mission of
nuclear disarmament and of finding other sources
of energy that are clean, safe. and sustainable.
Write to President Barack Obama
and other legislators urging them to speak out
boldly against any use of nuclear energy and to
divert the trillions of dollars used on nuclear
development to human development and meeting
basic human needs. Urge them to work toward a
universal solution as the only real solution to
Develop alternative clean energy
sources that will create more jobs and help the
Believe that another world is
possible and no effort is too small to make a
difference. We need to make our voices heard,
loud and clear, and continue to work and
continue the work with hope for the sake of the
safety and security of the whole human race.