During his visit to Nagasaki and Hiroshima last November, Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal for the total elimination of nuclear arms, “In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven.”
This August marks seventy-five years since the United States conducted nuclear attacks against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, devastating their populations and destroying their infrastructure. Following their use in Japan, the production and testing of nuclear weapons in the United States and internationally continues to harm the health, environment, and cultures of communities around the world.
In this time of pandemic, people have come to realize more fully the deep interconnections and mutual dependence of life on Earth. Many are beginning to rethink national security and questions national priorities.
Today, nine countries still possess nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons, enough to end all life on the planet many times over. Unlike the coronavirus, maintaining and expanding international nuclear arsenals, and the threats they pose to the world, are a choice nuclear-armed countries make.
While it is fitting to mourn the lives lost to COVID-19, this anniversary also invites people around the world to stand with the hibakusha, the survivors of the bombings in Japan, and other communities harmed by nuclear weapons. Pax Christi USA
In solidarity with the Church in Japan… Let us pray with the words that Pope St. John Paul II shared at the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima on February 25, 1981.
To the Creator of nature and man, of truth and beauty I pray:
Hear my voice, for it is the voice of the victims of all wars and violence among individuals and nations; Hear my voice, for it is the voice of all children who suffer and will suffer when people put their faith in weapons and war;
Hear my voice when I beg you to instill into the hearts of all human beings the wisdom of peace, the strength of justice and the joy of fellowship;
Hear my voice, for I speak for the multitudes in every country and in every period of history who do not want war and are ready to walk the road of peace;
Hear my voice and grant insight and strength so that we may always respond to hatred with love, to injustice with total dedication to justice, to need with the sharing of self, to war with peace.
O God, hear my voice and grant unto the world your everlasting peace.