Francis, receiving participants in the Symposium on Perspectives for a world free of nuclear weapons, and for an integral disarmament, spoke of a scenario characterized by "an unstable climate of conflict" and a "non-stop" arms race. "Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In the current international scene, characterized by "an unstable climate of conflict", " the escalation of the arms race continues unabated" and the number of countries that possess or aspire to possess nuclear weapons is growing, Pope reiterated that not only is the mere possession of atomic weapons illegal but also that an "effective and inclusive progress" can realize the utopia of a world without nuclear arms.
Receiving the participants from the international symposium titled Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament, Pope Francis said that "the culture of the waste" should be rejected, it is necessary to "take care of people and peoples who suffer the most painful inequalities" which means “ntegrating the individual and the social dimensions through the application of the principle of subsidiarity, encouraging the contribution of all, as individuals and as groups. Lastly, there is a need to promote human beings in the indissoluble unity of soul and body, of contemplation and action.. "
The participants of the meeting - 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners, UN and NATO leaders, diplomats, including Russia, the United States, South Korea, Iran, as well as top armament experts, founding members, organizations and civil society actively engaged in the theme and religious representatives - the Pope said, first of all, that " prospects for a world free from nuclear arms and for integral disarmament”, the theme of your meeting, appear increasingly remote. Indeed, the escalation of the arms race continues unabated and the price of modernizing and developing weaponry, not only nuclear weapons, represents a considerable expense for nations. As a result, the real priorities facing our human family, such as the fight against poverty, the promotion of peace, the undertaking of educational, ecological and healthcare projects, and the development of human rights, are relegated to second place."
The mere possession of atomic weapons must also be condemned
"Vital sense of restlessness" then causes the thought of "catastrophic consequences" that could cause an "even accidental" detonation of a nuclear weapon. Therefore, "t the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned. For they exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race. International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms. "
"Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity."
In the world, however, "Suffice it to note that nuclear technologies are now spreading, also through digital communications, and that the instruments of international law have not prevented new states from joining those already in possession of nuclear weapons. The resulting scenarios are deeply disturbing if we consider the challenges of contemporary geopolitics, like terrorism or asymmetric warfare. "
"At the same time, a healthy realism continues to shine a light of hope on our unruly world. Recently, for example, in a historic vote at the United Nations, the majority of the members of the international community determined that nuclear weapons are not only immoral, but must also be considered an illegal means of warfare. This decision filled a significant juridical lacuna, inasmuch as chemical weapons, biological weapons, anti-human mines and cluster bombs are all expressly prohibited by international conventions. Even more important is the fact that it was mainly the result of a “humanitarian initiative” sponsored by a significant alliance between civil society, states, international organizations, churches, academies and groups of experts. The document that you, distinguished recipients of the Nobel Prize, have consigned to me is a part of this, and I express my gratitude and appreciation for it."
Francis finally recalled that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Encyclical Populorum progressio of Paul VI. " That Encyclical, in developing the Christian concept of the person, set forth the notion of integral human development and proposed it as “the new name of peace”. In this memorable and still timely document, the Pope stated succinctly that “development cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be integral; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man” (No. 14). And the teaching of John XXIII “remains ever valid. In pointing to the goal of an integral disarmament, he stated: “Unless this process of disarmament be thoroughgoing and complete, and reach men’s very souls, it is impossible to stop the arms race, or to reduce armaments, or – and this is the main thing – ultimately to abolish them entirely” (Pacem in Terris, 11 April 1963).