Pope urges transformation of arms race into aid for development
Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – An end to nuclear proliferation, the promotion of nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of atomic energy for economic progress, above all in favour of the poorest. These are the aims of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose 50th anniversary was marked today by the Pope, when he underlined the fact that the Holy See is part of the UN organisation and shares in its objectives.
Benedict XVI arrived in Castel Gandolfo following his period of rest in Lorenzago di Cadore, Northern Italy. During his first Angelus in from the Papal summer residence he appealed for the release of the 22 South Korean hostages kidnapped in Afghanistan. In a short appeal launched after the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Pope neither named the hostage nor the Taliban kidnappers. “The exploitation of innocent people as a means to gaining partisan ends – noted the Pope – is becoming more widespread among armed groups. This – he continued – is a grave violation of human dignity, in stark opposition to every basic norm of a civilised society which also gravely offends divine law. I urge the authors of these criminal acts to desist from the evil they are doing and to release their victims safe and intact”.
Before the Angelus, Benedict XVI had reminded the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, that in last Sunday’s Angelus he had re-evoked Benedict XV’s words against the “senseless slaughter” of the First World War. “Last Sunday – he said – recalling the “Nota” of August 1st 90years ago addressed by Pope Benedict XV to the warring countries of the First World War, I dwelt on the theme of peace”.
“Now – he continued – a new occasion invites me to reflect on another important argument linked to the theme. Today is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the IAEA statute, the International Atomic Energy Agency; founded on the mandate to “seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world” (art. II of the Statute). The Holy See, which fully approves the aims and objectives of the Organism, is a founding member and continues to support its work. The radical changes which have taken place in the past 50 years show that at the difficult crossroads facing humanity today, the commitment to encouraging the non proliferation of nuclear arms, the progressive and consensual promotion of disarmament in favour of a peaceful and safe use of nuclear technology for an authentic development which respects the environment and is always attentive to the worlds disadvantaged peoples, is urgent and necessary. I therefore hope – he added – that the efforts of all those who pursue with determination these three objectives, bear fruit, so they may censure that “the resources gained may be spent on development projects to the advantage of all citizens, first and foremost the poor”. (World Peace Day Message 2006, n. 13). It is timely to repeat on this occasion – he continued – that the arms race must be replaced by a common effort to mobilize resources towards objectives of moral, cultural and economic development, by redefining priorities and the hierarchies of values (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2438)”.
“Let us trust our prayers for peace to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary – he concluded – in particular our prayer that scientific and technological knowledge are applied with a sense of responsibility for the common good, in full respect of International law. Let us pray that mankind live in peace, as brothers, sons of the one Father: God”.