Bishop of Lancaster on Trident: 'peace is more than the absence of war'

 Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster and President of Lancaster Diocesan Faith and Justice Commission has issued the following statement: The government has announced that a decision on replacing the current Trident nuclear weapon system will be made within the lifetime of this Parliament. Presumably tomorrow's debate in the Commons will be part of the decision-making process. The Catholic Church condemns the use of nuclear weapons, and has always been clear that the strategy of nuclear deterrence can only be a step on the road to complete nuclear disarmament. In my judgement, the UK's continued possession of nuclear weapons is no longer simply maintaining the 'balance of terror', but fuelling the development of new nuclear weapon systems around the world. Peace is more than the absence of war; it results from recognising, and protecting, the dignity of every human being and of all creation. At this moment I believe the government is facing a unique moral and strategic opportunity to build a more peaceful world. I urge the Prime Minister and his government not to go ahead with the replacement of Trident, and to commit themselves to decommissioning our existing nuclear weapons systems, thus fulfilling our obligations under the non-proliferation treaty and giving new impetus to international efforts to achieve disarmament. I am aware, too, that a large number of families in my Diocese depend largely upon the arms industry for their livelihood. I would be delighted if the government would join with the Churches and other interested agencies to explore alternative ways of employing the valuable skills and knowledge of those within the arms industry.

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