May 31, 2017
The Franciscan Action Network, following the tradition of nonviolence handed down to us by Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, supports the United Nations General Assembly resolution to begin negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. We welcome the efforts of nations meeting the next two months at the United Nations to secure progress in multilateral disarmament.
Pope Francis, addressing the need for the elimination of nuclear weapons in a March letter to the United Nations, recognized the current “unstable climate of conflict” globally. FAN echoes the Pope’s declaration that nuclear deterrence is ineffective against twenty-first century conflicts and that the international community consider “the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences” that would follow from the use of nuclear weapons.
Our Franciscan tradition is replete with examples of the use of nonviolent means to resolve conflict. We call on all nations to engage in negotiations in good faith and to strengthen trust and cooperation “capable of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.” (Pope Francis) We call for a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons and for legally binding measures that would lead to the irreversible, verifiable and transparent destruction of all nuclear weapons.
Catholic Social Tradition has condemned the use of nuclear weapons even prior to their development and use. Two years before the first successful nuclear weapons test, Pope Pius advocated that such weapons not be developed “because otherwise the consequence could be catastrophic not only in itself but for the whole planet.” As nations meet in the next two months at the United Nations to negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons, Franciscan Action Network supports any treaty among nations that will prohibit these weapons of mass destruction once and for all.