Motivated by the upcoming 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, updated and renewed their commitment against nuclear weapons, first issued in 1982. The Congregation commits to "unconditional resistance to the financing, production, possession, deployment and use of nuclear weapons.
"The renewed statement was passed by a unanimous vote," said Congregation Leader Sister Sheila Lemieux. "We wanted to commemorate the anniversary and also take into account new teachings by Pope Francis on the immorality of possessing nuclear weapons, even for the sake of deterrence."
"The statement is not only timely, given the 75tth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Congregation Leadership Team Member Sister Margaret Shannon, "it also comes at a critical time in our world's history. This is a 'pay attention' moment. The Spirit is doing her work in us."
As one of the recommended action steps that accompany the statement, the Congregation urges all to work for the final passage into international law and the implementation of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017).
The Congregation previously divested itself from weapons manufacturers after issuing its 1982 statement. The community now has committed to begin actions that includes identifying and divesting from institutions that finance the companies that build nuclear weapons.
"Congregation members believe that the very existence of nuclear weapons poses an unnecessary risk to all life on Earth and remains an ongoing theft from the needs of the poor," said Congregation Peace through Justice Facilitator and CSJP
Associate Frank McCann. "The congregation also pledged its support to those who participate in nonviolent resistance to nuclear weapons."
The suggestion to update the statement came from a congregation-wide Zoom event that took place at the end of May during which the Congregation heard from Martha Hennessy, and Patrick O'Neill, members of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, who took nonviolent action against the US nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia, and from Pat Gaffney, former President of Pax Christi UK and a member of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative steering committee.
The Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, founded in 1884 in Nottingham, England by Mother Francis Clare (Margaret Anna Cusack), are an international community built on a rich heritage of promoting social justice as a way to peace. Sisters and Associates minister in education, health care, religious education, parish ministry, social justice, spiritual direction and peace ministry in the United Kingdom and United States.
For more information, visit the Congregation website at: www.csjp.org
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