WASHINGTON — "The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) welcomes the signing of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the United States and the Russian Federation," said Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the USCCB, in an April 8 letter to President Barack Obama.
“The horribly destructive capacity of nuclear arms makes them disproportionate and indiscriminate weapons that endanger human life and dignity like no other armaments. Their use as a weapon of war is rejected in Church teaching based on just war norms,” Cardinal George wrote. The cardinal cited teaching from both the U.S. bishops and Pope Benedict XVI calling for a world without nuclear weapons.
“Based on a moral imperative to rid the world of nuclear weapons,” Cardinal George said, “the Conference of Bishops will be a steadfast supporter of strong and bipartisan action on the new START Treaty as an important and essential step toward a nuclear-weapons-free future.”
Cardinal George acknowledged that “the path to a world free of nuclear weapons will be long and difficult,” but listed steps that would help, such as ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, securing nuclear materials from terrorists, and strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor nonproliferation efforts and ensure access to peaceful uses of nuclear power.
The full text of Cardinal George’s letter to President Obama can be found online athttp://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/2010-04-08-let-card-george-pres-obama.pdf. Other resources on nuclear weapons are at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/nuclear.shtml.