On nuclear weapons, Pope Francis goes beyond all previous papal teaching

On nuclear weapons, Pope Francis goes beyond all previous papal teaching

By Phil Lawler | Nov 13, 2017

Once again Pope Francis has ventured into new territory in Church teaching, with his November 10 November 10 condemnation of nuclear weapons. The Church has frequently lamented the existence of nuclear armaments, and Vatican II clearly condemned the use of any weapons that would destroy civilian population centers. Each successive Pontiff of the nuclear age has wholeheartedly endorsed the quest for disarmament. For 70 years, the leaders of the Catholic Church have pleaded for nuclear disarmament, decried the arms race, cautioned against the intentional targeting of civilians, and encouraged the exploration for new ways of ensuring peace. But until last week, Church leaders had stopped short of condemning the possession of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons—like many other weapons, including a police official’s gun—are intended primarily for their deterrent effect. World leaders do not intend to launch their nuclear-tipped missiles. Indeed it is a salient fact that although thousands of nuclear devices have been developed in my lifetime, not one has been used in combat. Many strategists agree that nuclear deterrence, problematical though it may be, prevented the outbreak of a massive global conflict during the Cold War, and if that is true, it is no small achievement.

In their famous pastoral letter of 1983, The Challenge of Peace, the US bishops decried the arms race, but they did not demand immediate disarmament. They acknowledged, reluctantly, the difficulty of eliminating nuclear weapons—a difficulty born of the fact that if one side disarms, it is immediately at the mercy of its rival.

But Pope Francis took the decisive step in his address to participants in a conference on disarmament. He denied the value of nuclear deterrence, saying that the fearsome weapons “create nothing but a false sense of security.” He stated that “the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is firmly to be condemned.” [Emphasis added]

If the possession of nuclear weapons is “firmly to be condemned,” regardless of the circumstances, then is the Pope claiming a moral imperative for unilateral disarmament? If that is the Pope’s intent, it is a radical suggestion—or perhaps I should say a radical directive, since the Pontiff allowed no room for differences of opinion.

The Pope’s statement did not attract the worldwide attention that it might have deserved, perhaps because the world has grown accustomed to Vatican calls for disarmament. But there was something new in this papal address. This was not merely a call for a change of heart (although that was certainly included in the Pope’s speech); it was a clear and sweeping statement of policy.

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3 comments on “On nuclear weapons, Pope Francis goes beyond all previous papal teaching

  1. So, lets see here…. It’s true that the cold war is ended. But if the US dismounted its nuclear weapons, the countries left with nuclear capabilities and a formidable delivery system is China and Russia. China is a problem nation, but it is not an expansionist position. It’s xenophobic and more or less isolationist. Russia is a Christian nation, or at least appears to be going in that direction, and is being attacked both ideologically and by piecemeal subversion by the sinister secularist pseudo democracy called the EU. And the EU is not an independent State or Confederation of States, but an administrative colonial system set up by the US, when it conquered Europe, to run and spread moral, political, economic, cultural and religious pluralism and to diffuse and separate institutions and norms, so that the concept of checks and balances it adopted for itself in 1789, would apply to all aspects of life, including moral and religious, in these European Colonial Territories run by globalist Zionist America . Former USSR Territories recently “liberated” from Russia, such as the Ukraine, are still living in their dreams of their UPA Nazi pasts, ready to murder any more Poles or Russians that stand in their way of “Lebenstraum”. And countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, still dream of an America that will help them pave their streets with gold, out of genuine, heartfelt brotherly love, because they were always looking to the US for many years, believing that America comes to liberate them because they were never so close as Russia to believe the US would have any sinister plans to occupy them. So these Eastern European countries want to join the EU because it is run by the Americans, so it can’t be anything but good, right?
    Meanwhile, in the name of cultural, moral, and religious diversity, and to create a system of American checks and balances using diversity to fragment peoples, so that only large Media and Corporations and globalists can create a consensus, the Muslims come from the Middle East. Meanwhile, Israel, and their co-opted allies, the US, play Arabs, Farsi s and Muslims against each other so that no coalition of Middle Eastern States can gang up on the precious state of Israel, who has made a history of wiping out Palestinians, Christian, Druze and Muslim alike. Sub-Saharan Africa, and South America are still dizzy and overwhelmed with decades of Marxist and Masonic revolutions and influences.
    Meanwhile, morally, things in Rome and the Church, things have gotten so bad, I am sure the Papacy is doing more harm than good.
    So, gee,.. it was so much more simpler when we had the Cold War. I don’t think that nuclear weapons really are checks and balances like they used to be. We are not facing a world of more or less 2 ideological sides. Everyone is crazy. And in this kind of world everyone deserves a nuke, if it wasn’t for God and His Mother still believing in us all. People and countries are no longer deterred by a country’s nuclear stockpile, but rather, in a nation’s moral fiber and willingness to use weapons when morally just.

  2. I was hoping that, as you call it, “globalist Zionist America,” was going to stay more in the past with George W. Bush, destroyer of Iraq. Obama – unless you’re given to conspiracy theories of Israel using Obama to advance their own war desires – shifted US support to murderous ragheads, e.g., Morsi in Egypt, Al Qaeda in Libya, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, much to the detriment of Israel. I’m happy with Trump shifting things back because I can’t see supporting causes of people who teach their children to wear bombs and blow up buses of women and children.

    Today, however, I’m bothered by this Breitbart headline (yes – Breitbart is Zionist friendly, I know):
    ‘I’m Proud to Be a Christian Zionist’: Steve Bannon Gets Standing O from Leading Jewish Organization

    What the heck is a “Christian Zionist?” Bannon needs to read about Pope St. Pius X’s rejection of Zionist Theodor Herzl, i.e., Jews reject Our Lord Jesus Christ. In any case, my respect for Bannon dropped a lot today. I can tolerate Zionists, but can never join them or support their cause.

  3. Imagine a world
    without nuke-you-lar weapons.

    Fezzik: I do not think you pronounce that correctly.

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