The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney signs on to the Interfaith Open Letter in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
On the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, along with 60 other faith organisations, has signed on to an interfaith open letter in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Vatican was one of the first states to sign on to the treaty which will come into force once 50 states have ratified it.
The open letter which is addressed to: the Prime Minister of Australia and the leader of the Opposition states:
“We, the undersigned leaders of religious organisations and faith groups, express our grave concern with the persistent global threat posed by nuclear weapons….As people of faith across Australia we join together in one voice to urge the Australian Government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Our future depends on the successful implementation of this treaty.”
To mark the anniversary of the bombings and to consolidate the voices of faith groups opposed to nuclear weapons, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in conjunction with eh Uniting Church of Australia, hosted an online interfaith service for nuclear disarmament. The service was held via zoom and open to everyone attracting over 130 participants. It included prayers from seven faith traditions, including the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, the Hindu Council of Australia, the Australian Baháʼí Community, the Buddhist Council of NSW and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. A copy of the service booklet is available here.
The service also included a message from Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) General Secretary Rev. James Bhagwan on the impacts of 50 years of nuclear testing across the Pacific and ICAN provide an update on the campaign for Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. There are still almost 14,000 nuclear weapons held between nine countries today, every single one of which poses the threat of catastrophic disaster both for human beings and the planet.
The Justice and Peace Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney welcomes the news on this solemn anniversary that Ireland, Nigeria and Niue have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Some of the other Catholic signatories include Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Chairperson Bishops Commission for Social Justice Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Br Peter Carroll FMS, President, and Anne Walker, National Executive Director Catholic Religious Australia Stancea Vichie, Congregational Leader Missionary Sisters of Service Father Claude Mostowik msc, President Pax Christi Australia and Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader and Sisters of St Joseph.
On the occasion of the Anniversary of the bombing, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Japan and recognised the longings of the people of our time who still thirst for peace. He recalled his words from his visit to Hiroshima in November 2019 that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral.”
To recognise this anniversary the Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan also issued a message: 75 Years after the War – A Peace Message from the Catholic Bishops of Japan Protect all life Peace is the Path of Hope affirming the theme of Pope Francis’ visit to Japan that nothing is more valuable than human life.
At this time of the year, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Social Justice has prepared a prayer to help the Australian Catholic community to mark the Ten Days for Peace in solidarity with the Church in Japan. Based on the peace prayer of St Francis and the words of Pope Francis, it focuses on nuclear disarmament and active peace-building. The Office for Social Justice invites everyone to make this prayer and to share it with others, especially from 6 to 15 August.