2016-05-26 16:52:00

UK: High level Catholic colloquium on Nuclear Disarmament

(Vatican Radio)  Bishops, Catholic scholars, and policy specialists from nine countries gathered in London this week in a Colloquium to discuss Catholic Approaches to Nuclear Proliferation and Disarmament.   

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) joined Lord Browne of Ladyton and Lord McFall of Alcluith, and the University of Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway in hosting the Colloquium.

“The technical strategic debate about nuclear proliferation and disarmament is critically important, but it must be guided by moral considerations,” said Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

In a report on the 24-25 May meeting, the CBCEW said the London Colloquium is connected to a U.S. initiative to revitalize Catholic engagement on nuclear proliferation and disarmament.

According to the report, the meeting was introduced by Bishop Oscar Cantú, the Chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, who said,  “the policy debate is ahead of the moral debate.” And,  “we need to educate and empower new generations of Catholic leaders on the ethical and policy arguments for reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons.”

At the opening public event, held at the University of Notre Dame’s Global Gateway, Maryann Cusimano Love of The Catholic University of America urged that “the Church and policymakers go beyond the debate on the ethics of nuclear deterrence and consider nuclear disarmament as a challenge of peacebuilding.”

Bishop Marc Stenger, President of Pax Christi France, emphasized the need for Church leaders “to foster among the general public a broader awareness of the challenges to peace presented by nuclear weapons by providing space for an open dialogue on nuclear deterrence.”

Colloquium participants included Bishop Stephan Ackermann, President of the German Commission for Justice and Peace; Bishop Werner Freistetter, Military Ordinary of Austria; Fr. Bryan Hehir of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; Patricia Lewis of Chatham House; Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual of the Catholic Institute of Paris; Bishop William Nolan, President of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland; Bishop Declan Lang, Chairman of the CBCEW’s Department of International Affairs; Bishop Robert McElroy of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace; Paolo Conversi of the Holy See's Secretariat of State; Fred Frederickson, Director of NATO’s Nuclear Policy Directorate; Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association; and Charles Reed, senior policy adviser for the Church of England.

The event was sponsored by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; Deutsche Bischofskonferenz; Justice et Paix, Conférence des évêques de France; the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace; the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies; Institut fur Theologie und Frieden; the Catholic Peacebuilding Network; Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

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