Pope to G7: Forsake nuclear arms, lay foundations for peace

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Pope to G7: Forsake nuclear arms, lay foundations for peaceIn a letter to the Bishop of Hiroshima where the G7 Summit is underway, Pope Francis appeals for an integral vision of global security and the pursuit of peace based on equality and solidarity.

Pope Francis has reiterated the Holy See’s “firm conviction” that the use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity and that it undermines any possible future for our common home.

In a letter addressed to the Bishop of Hiroshima, where the G7 Summit of the world’s most wealthy nations kicked off on Friday, the Pope said he is praying that the Summit will demonstrate "a farsighted vision in laying the foundations for lasting peace and stable and long-term sustainable security.”

Noting that G7 leaders are gathered to discuss “urgent issues currently facing the global community” the Pope assured Bishop Alexis-Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima of his spiritual closeness and prayers “for the fruitfulness of the Summit."

A significant venue

The Holy Father highlighted the significance of Hiroshima as a choice for the meeting “in light of the continuing threat of recourse to nuclear weapons.”

“I recall the overwhelming impression left by my moving visit to the Peace Memorial during my 2019 visit to Japan,” he said, when he stood “there in silent prayer and thinking of the innocent victims of the nuclear attack decades ago.”

On that occasion, he reiterated the firm conviction of the Holy See that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is, today more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future for our common home” (Address at the Peace Memorial, 24 November 2019).

Urgent pursuit of peace

The Pope reflected on how, today, we look with concern to the future, particularly in the wake of the global pandemic and continuing wars in various regions, including the war being fought in Ukraine.

“The events of the past few years have made it clear that only together, in fraternity and solidarity, can our human family seek to heal wounds and build a just and peaceful world,” he wrote.

“Only together, in fraternity and solidarity, can our human family seek to heal wounds and build a just and peaceful world.”

Pope Francis described a “multipolar world of the twenty-first century” in which “the pursuit of peace is closely related to the need for security and reflection on the most efficient means for guaranteeing it.”

He said that within this perspective, global security “needs to be integral, capable of embracing issues including access to food and water, respect for the environment, health care, energy sources and the equitable distribution of the world’s goods.”

Multilateralism and international cooperation

“An integral concept of security can serve to anchor multilateralism and international cooperation between government and nongovernment actors, on the basis of the profound interconnection between these issues, which makes it necessary to adopt, together, an approach of responsible multilateral cooperation,” the Pope said.

Calling Hiroshima “a symbol of memory”, he said it “forcefully proclaims the inadequacy of nuclear arms to respond effectively to today’s great threats to peace and to ensure national and international security.”

He appealed for the consideration of the “catastrophic humanitarian and environmental impact that will result from the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the waste and poor allocation of human and economic resources involved in their development.”

Climate of fear

The Pope also referred to the effects generated by “the continuing climate of fear and suspicion generated by their mere possession, which compromises the growth of a climate of mutual trust and dialogue.”

“In this context, nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction represent a multiplier of risk that offers only an illusion of peace,” he said.

“Nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction represent a multiplier of risk that offers only an illusion of peace.”

Closeness and prayers

The Pope concluded with assurances of his prayers and blessings both for Bishop Shirahama and for his flock. He said he joins them in praying “that the G7 Summit at Hiroshima will demonstrate farsighted vision in laying the foundations for lasting peace and stable and long-term sustainable security.”

You can find the full text of Pope Francis' "Letter to the Bishop of Hiroshima on the Occasion of the G7 Summit" on the Vatican website.

Linda Bordoni
Source: vaticannews.va