BY Daniel Harkins | May 25 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Bishop criticises UK Government for spending billions renewing Trident

Bishop William Nolan has criticised the UK Government for ‘spending billions of pounds’ on renewing its nuclear weapons arsenal ‘in times of austerity,’ and called on the Secretary of State to sign and ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The threat of nuclear weapons ‘poisons the soul of humanity,’ the bishop said in a letter to the Secretary of State, and their use by any state or leader would be an ‘immoral act against humanity and against creation.’

Bishop Nolan is president of the Scottish Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission, and he signed the letter alongside the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, RT Rev Susan Brown; Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the church and society council of the Church of Scotland; and RT Rev Mark Strange, primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The bishop will take part in a Pentecost Witness at Faslane Naval Base—which houses the UK’s nuclear weapon-armed submarines—on Saturday May 26 alongside other church leaders.

The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination. It opened for signature at the United Nations on 20 September 2017. No nuclear-armed nation has signed the treaty and the UK Government has previously indicated it is opposed to it. 122 governments have signed up to the commitment.

“We believe in the dignity and right to life of every human being and that nuclear weapons violate that dignity and threaten that life,” Bishop Nolan writes in the letter. He points out that the Pope has condemned the possession of nuclear weapons as ‘they serve to create a culture of fear for all humankind.’

“Successive governments of both major parties have affirmed their commitment to multilateral disarmament for the last 50 years, however the decision by Parliament to spend billions of pounds renewing the UK’s arsenal of mass destruction in times of austerity is not a commitment to peacebuilding and is contrary to our commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Bishop Nolan writes. “The British Government, by signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, would be taking a positive step towards fulfilling those commitments.”


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