BY Ryan McDougall | December 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

2 - CNS-POPE-nuclear

Plans for new catechism on nuclear weapons welcomed by Justice and Peace Scotland

Justice and Peace Scotland has welcomed Pope Francis' announcement that the immorality of nuclear weapons will be added to the catechism.

Last week as he returned from Japan, the Pope told journalists aboard the papal airplane that nuclear weaponry is wrong.

It follows his announcement in Hiroshima, Japan last week where he had met with survivors of the US atom bombs that struck Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War, killing between 40,000 and 75,000 people.

Pope Francis said possession and use of nuclear weapons is ‘immoral’ and that ‘this must go in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.’


Stewards of Creation

Justice and Peace Scotland (J&PS), a Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Commission that advises the Church on matters relating to social justice, has welcomed the pope’s proposal to change the catechism, stating that ‘we are all called to be careful stewards of Creation.’

Daniel Sweeney, coordinator of J&PS, said: “We welcome Pope Francis’ leadership in continuing to update the Church’s Catechism. As a Faith which holds all life as Sacred and made in the image of God, previous positions in Church teaching on issues like the death penalty and possession of nuclear weapons were at odds with that sanctity of life.

“Pope Francis is reflecting the growing recognition within the Church that we must practice what we preach; we cannot love our neighbours in the world if we are holding a nuclear weapon to their heads.”

In 2017 the pope declared at a Vatican conference that possession of such weaponry was ‘to be condemned.’



Mr Sweeney recalled how in 1982, the then Scottish bishops spoke against the use of nuclear weapons and using them as a deterrent, and that the changes to the catechism ‘reaffirms’ the pope’s teaching, and ‘should send a clear message that as followers of Jesus we must reject a politics and an outlook which believes that threatening mass-murder is an appropriate way to conduct itself in the world.’

Danny Sweeney added: “Most Catholics in our country, in common with most people in Scotland, recognise that nuclear weapons are not a guarantee of safety in our world.

“While it may be a useful campaigning point for politicians during this General Election, the people of Scotland are the ones who have to live with the reality of these weapons in our country.”



Mr Sweeney stated the UK Government has ‘failed to adhere to its obligations’ under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) — an international treaty that aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and highlighted that the UK Government continually refuses to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017), which aims to eventually eliminate such warheads from the world entirely.

He concluded, stating he hopes Catholics will ‘be open to the leadership of Pope Francis, and see His Holiness’ updating of the Catechism as a chance to reflect on how we are all called to be careful stewards of creation, to protect our world, not praise the means to destroy it.’


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