CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHINGS
1983 US Bishops Pastoral Letter:
Because of the massive and indiscriminate destruction that nuclear weapons would inflict, their use would not be morally justified. [No. 150]
Given the context of that time, possession of these weapons as a deterrent against the use of nuclear weapons by others could be morally acceptable only as an interim measure and only if deterrence were combined with clear steps toward progressive disarmament. Criteria for strict conditioning:
1993 US Bishops 10th Anniversary Statement:
Progressive disarmament must mean a commitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons, not simply as an ideal, but as a concrete policy goal [p. 13]
The US should commit itself never to use nuclear weapons first, should unequivocally reject proposals to use nuclear weapons to deter non-nuclear threats, and should reinforce the fragile barrier against the use of these weapons [p. 13].
1998 draft US Bishops 15th Anniversary Statement:
Stockpile Stewardship program is [p. 2]:
Nuclear deterrence as a national policy must be condemned as amorally abhorrent because it is the excuse and justification for the continued possession and further development of these horrendous weapons [p. 5].
We urge all to join in taking up the challenge to eliminate nuclear weapons now, rather than relying on them forever [p. 5].
Summarized by Gustav A. Nystrom, Ph.D., Livermore area Pax Christi leader, August 27, 1998.
Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.
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