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The Pope and Nuclear Disarmament: Background Resources Available

For Immediate Release: September 22, 2015

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext. 107; Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 102; Timothy Farnsworth, communications director, 202-463-8270 ext. 110.

(Washington, D.C.)—Under the papacy of Francis, the Catholic Church is renewing and reinvigorating its call for nuclear disarmament. In a pivotal statement at the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons in December 2014, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, the Vatican’s UN ambassador in Geneva, said the “reliance on a strategy of nuclear deterrence has created a less secure world,” and called for all countries to review deterrence as a “stable basis for peace.”

At the 59th meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency Conference last week, the Vatican said that “nuclear deterrence can hardly be the basis for peaceful coexistence among peoples and states in the 21st century.” The statement, issued by Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher also called for a "real efforts toward facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty]" and endorsed the July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers saying it ensures the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

During his trip to the United States he will address Congress on Sept. 24 and the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 25. Pope Francis may continue to call for the United States to take further steps toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

For more information on the Catholic Church’s views on nuclear weapons, see the following resources.


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