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Archbishop right on nuclear weapons Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

As we commemorate the horrors of nuclear war and the deaths of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, it is particularly hopeful to hear Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore (former Archbishop for the Military Services) speak on Catholic social teaching regarding nuclear weapons and their use as deterrents.

It took great courage for the archbishop to address this topic before the 2009 Deterrence Symposium, sponsored by the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Neb., on July 29. I commend him for his statement.

Archbishop O’Brien followed the history of the Church’s position on war with particular emphasis on nuclear war as “unjust” and nuclear deterrence as “lead(ing) us farther away from the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The archbishop started with Hebrew Scriptures by citing the fifth commandment, “You shall not kill,” and proceeded to quote several papal and U.S. bishops’ statements reminding us that all human life is sacred and that nuclear weapons are in opposition to that teaching. He concluded that, as the title of his talk implies, our strategy on nuclear weapons should be on the “path to zero.”

With so many other issues to address these days, the threat of a nuclear disaster seems far from people’s minds. But if we are to make any progress on life issues, it is essential that we remember the horrors of warfare, encourage the passage of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and pray for Church and U.S. leadership in the 2010 Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Trudi Jenny, Madison