Vatican UN rep: 'Nuclear weapons no longer morally justified'

by Thomas C. Fox

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Speaking in Kansas City, Mo. July 1 Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, said there is no longer a moral justification for the continued maintenance of nuclear weapons. He called for a comprehensive convention aimed at the phase out of all nuclear weapons from the world.

“Viewed from a legal, political, security and most of all moral perspective, there is no justification today for the continued maintenance of nuclear weapons,” the archbishop said. “This is the moment to begin addressing in a systematic way the legal, political and technical requisites for a nuclear-weapons-free world.”

Chullikatt said work should begin “as soon as possible” on a convention or framework agreement leading to the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons.

The Holy See, he said, supports this gathering body of work and calls “for more stringent attention to the urgency of implementing a well-founded comprehensive approach to eliminating nuclear weapons.”

The archbishop’s talk was sponsored by the diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph’s human rights office. He spoke before a gathering of 200 at the Catholic Center in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Chullikatt said that the current phase out of nuclear weapons, built on treaties between Russia and the United States, has been insufficient and, indeed, has led to permanent nuclear weapons deterrence systems.

“It cannot be considered morally sufficient to draw down the stocks of superfluous nuclear weapons while modernizing nuclear arsenals and investing vast sums to ensure their future production and maintenance,” the archbishop said. “This current course will ensure the perpetuation of these weapons indefinitely.”

“For far too long, nuclear weapons have threatened humanity and there has not been sufficient political will toward removing this scourge. Now is the time for a profound rethinking and change in our perception of nuclear weapons."

Chullikatt called for a new approach, a comprehensive effort, through the United Nations, to address nuclear weapons disarmament.

“It is becoming ever clearer that nuclear disarmament must be addressed from a comprehensive approach,” he said. “Despite steps for decades, we still have a profusion of nuclear weapons. The Holy See believes there needs to be a binding together of steps into a coherent commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons in clearly defined phases for an incremental disarmament."

Full text of Archbishop Chullikatt's remarks.

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