A historic treaty prohibiting nuclear arms comes into force today as Catholic Bishops across the UK call on the UK Government to "forsake its nuclear arsenal”.
Earlier this month the Bishops, including Scotland's Bishop William Nolan, realeased a statement calling on the government to support the Treaty. The UK has so far failed to sign it, along with other major nuclear powers.
Today we celebrate, as one human family, the entry into force of the UN #Treaty on the #Prohibition of #Nuclear #Weapons. We pray that, as with previous treaties to prohibit #chemical & #biological weapons, nuclear weapons will soon be a thing of the past. #BanTreaty #nuclearban pic.twitter.com/xjPtvHhQQz
— Justice & Peace Scotland (@JandPScotland) January 22, 2021
Their statement quotes a message from Pope Francis to the UN calling the complete elimination of nuclear weapons a “moral and humanitarian imperative”.
It also urges the UK to “strengthen its arms control regulations, tackling the manufacture and sale of other weaponry, which continues to destroy so many lives throughout the world.”
Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
On Friday 22 January 2021 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force. This is a historic milestone on the path to nuclear disarmament and an opportunity to refocus on genuine peacebuilding rooted in dialogue, justice, respect for human dignity, and care for our planet.
In setting out the “moral and humanitarian imperative” for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, Pope Francis reminded us that “international peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation.”
We urge support for the Treaty and repeat our call for the UK to forsake its nuclear arsenal. The resources spent on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading these weapons of mass destruction, should be reinvested to alleviate the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, for the Common Good of all peoples.
At the same time, we implore the government to strengthen its arms control regulations, tackling the manufacture and sale of other weaponry, which continues to destroy so many lives throughout the world.
Above all we pray: “Lord, Father of our human family, you created all human beings equal in dignity; pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit. Move us to create healthier societies and a more dignified world, a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.”
Bishop of Clifton
Chair, International Affairs Department, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop of Galloway
Commission for Justice and Peace, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham
 Message to the UN conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination (23 March 2017) vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/pont-messages/2017/documents/papa-francesco_20170323_messaggio-onu.html
 Statement on nuclear weapons (4 August 2020) cbcew.org.uk/statement-on-nuclear-weapons/
 Fratelli Tutti vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html