Pope makes appeal for disarmament of ‘senseless’ weapons

Pope Francis has lamented the continued existence of nuclear arms and the “escalation of the arms race” at an event in the Vatican.

Speaking to participants of the International Symposium on Disarmament entitled Prospects for a world free of nuclear weapons and for Integral Disarmament, Pope Francis said: “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.”

Pope Francis also pointed out that nuclear weapons “exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race…and weapons that result in the destruction of the human race are senseless even from a tactical standpoint.”

The Pope, however, still had room for optimism. He believes that “progress that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression”.

He quoted John XXIII who said that: “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”.

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