Seminar on 'Challenging Trident - the proper work of religion'

  At an ecumenical seminar in central London on 4 October, Douglas Roche, former Canadian parliamentarian and adviser to the Holy See on disarmament issues, asked the question "Does the UK government have the courage to face the world without nuclear armour?" The seminar, organised by Pax Christi, brought together representatives from Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Quakers and other free-church members, to discuss church responses to the proposed Trident replacement programme. Mr Roche said: "The Trident decision will be a signal to the world whether the government is serious about its commitments or just playing with words to strike an agreeable posture in international meetings It is the proper work of religion to expose falsehoods, particularly when they impact on the lives of the people in the mammoth way that nuclear weapons do. Thus Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien of Edinburgh should be commended for speaking out so clearly against the Trident replacement." Affirming the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church in opposition to nuclear weapons he went on to say "In addressing the Trident issue, Cardinal O'Brien has projected locally what the Holy See is stating universally: "The Holy See has never countenanced nuclear deterrence as a permanent measure." The second speaker, Revd Alan McDonald, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, spoke of the important ecumenical cooperation which is taking place in Scotland and the political challenge to Trident that is so clearly coming from Scotland. He said that we are in a Kiaros moment, the issue of Trident replacement should be of concern to all Christians. Both Douglas Roche and Revd McDonald spoke at a public meeting in Edinburgh the previous evening. More than 150 people attended the meeting at the Lauriston Jesuit Centre where they also heard Cardinal Keith O'Brien and Gerry Hughes SJ Cardinal O'Brien reaffirmed his call to all men and women of faith to raise their voice for peace. David Ryall, secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales; Department of International Affairs attended the London event. The full text of Douglas Roche's speech is on the Pax Christi website: http://www.paxchristi.org.uk/ Source: CTBI