US bishops urge ratification of treaty to reduce nuclear weapons

Catholic bishops  in America have urged members of the Senate to come together across party lines to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). They  have also welcomed the Nuclear Posture Review as a “significant, yet modest, shift toward a world free of nuclear weapons." Archbishop Edwin O’Brien  made remarks  about the issue on Monday,   at a symposium on the ethics of the Obama Administration’s nuclear weapons policy, held at The Catholic University of America (CUA).
Calling the New START Treaty, which reduces the nuclear arsenals of both Russia and the United States, a “step in the right direction,”  Archbishop O'Brien said it was one that “sets the stage for future reductions.” He said the Nuclear Posture Review “does not go as far as the bishops urged and does not declare that the sole purpose of the US nuclear arsenal is to deter nuclear attack against us or our allies,” but said it “embraces the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, recognizes the danger of nuclear terrorism, and narrows the use of nuclear weapons” against non-nuclear threats and states.
“These directions are morally sound,” Archbishop O’Brien said, “but more progress is needed to meet our moral responsibilities to rid the world of this disproportionate and indiscriminate threat to human life.”
Archbishop O’Brien cited Catholic teaching against nuclear war, from documents of the Second Vatican Council and the US Bishops to Pope Benedict XVI’s assertion in 2006: “In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims.”
Archbishop O’Brien said, in a moral analysis of nuclear weapons policy, every weapon and policy must be judged by the ultimate goal of a world free of the threat of nuclear weapons.
“Although we must always keep our eyes on the horizon of a world without nuclear weapons,” he added, “it is equally important to focus on our next steps because the journey is long and dangerous and we must take one step at a time if we are to be successful.”
The panel symposium, entitled: The Ethics of the Obama Administration's Nuclear Weapons Policy: Catholic Perspectives, included CUA professor Dr Maryann Cusimano-Love, and General William Burns, both of whom serve as consultants to the US Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. Archbishop O’Brien is a member of that committee and served as Archbishop for Military Services for a decade until his 2007 appointment to Baltimore.
Rose Gottemoeller, US Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance and Implementation, who was the lead US negotiator of the New START Treaty, also participated in the event.
The full text of Archbishop O’Brien’s remarks can be found at: For more information on the US Bishops’ teachings on nuclear weapons,see:

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