Home » Features » Loretto Stands with the Church in Opposing Nuclear Weapons

Loretto Stands with the Church in Opposing Nuclear Weapons

Posted on July 11, 2022, by Loretto Community

People carry a large banner reading "Loretto Women for Disarmament" in a protest march on the grass.
Members of the Loretto Community join with others in 2002 to protest at Los Alamos, N.M.
Loretto Archives photo

I Am the Way, the Loretto Constitutions, uses Scriptural passages to guide Loretto’s work. The Old Testament prophet Jerimiah tells us quite plainly, “I know the plans I have in mind for you, plans for peace and not disaster, reserving a future full of hope.” (Jer.29:11)

Every person wants peace. And every person wants a plan to achieve it. Every person hears this plea from Scripture, “a future full of hope.” We ask: How many centuries of war on earth? How many years of fighting each other? And for what? It is not easy to have hope.

Banner created by Robert Strobridge CoL

As Catholics what does our Church tell us? Read the words of Pope Francis as reported by Rome correspondent Kelsey Davenport: “Pope Francis firmly condemned the possession of nuclear weapons for the first time at a Vatican conference on disarmament, a significant move that extends the Roman Catholic Church’s position on the immorality of nuclear weapons.”

In Pope Francis’s second encyclical, Laudato Si,’ #5, it states, “The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious. Every effort to protect our world entails profound changes in lifestyles, models of protection and consumption and the established structures of power which today govern societies.”

The Holy See’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development, in one of its more recent gatherings, discussed the steps toward a world without nuclear weapons. For years the Church has talked of a nuclear-free world, but it has seemed like a slow conversation at times to many. However, under Pope Francis, who became Pope in 2013, the Church began to revisit its position on the morality of deterrence. In a 2014 study document, the Church said that the “use of nuclear weapons is absolutely prohibited.”

At the December 2014 conference in Vienna on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons use, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said that “reliance on a strategy of nuclear deterrence has created a less secure world,” and he called for all countries to review whether deterrence actually provides a “stable basis for peace.” Years have gone by with slow progress. We must work politically and pray harder.

Newly appointed Cardinal-elect San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy said that nuclear powers are on the “cusp of modernization programs that will dramatically intensify the trajectory toward proliferation and ultimately confrontation” and emphasized that the Roman Catholic Church should speak with “prophetic power and certitude” to the nuclear powers.

Pope Francis, Cardinal McElroy, Archbishop Tomasi all have words that underlie the importance of a nuclear-free world. When will we all listen? Will we all act?


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