Cardinal calls Trident "immoral"

29 June 2009

Cardinal calls Trident weapons "immoral"

In an article in today's Times newspaper,  
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6597686.ece  
Cardinal Keith O'Brien will describe the Trident weapons system as a "weapon of mass destruction" and argue that possessing it is "morally reprehensible". Scotland's Catholic Bishops issued a statement in April 2006 condemning the Trident system, http://scmo.org/articles/389/1/Bishops-statement-on-Trident/Page1.html   their stance was subsequently endorsed by the Vatican, when Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, wrote to cardinal O'Brien endorsing the Bishops' April 2006 declaration.

In his article, the Cardinal states; :In any and all circumstances the use of a nuclear weapon would be immoral. Since, to use these weapons would be immoral, to threaten their use is immoral and to hold them with a view to threatening their use is also immoral."
Cardinal O'Brien adds; "We not only violate moral principles with our nuclear weapons but undermine our moral authority in the world." he concludes; "Rejecting Trident, not in 2024 but right now, will bring economic dividends at home and give moral leadership abroad. It would allow us, at last, to stand on the moral high ground and to invite the nuclear armed nations of the world to join us there."

ENDS

The full text of the Cardinal's article is shown below.

A study guide to Nuclear weapons produced by the Justice & peace Commission of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland is available as a download here; http://www.justiceandpeacescotland.org.uk/downloads/replacing-trident.pdf


Peter Kearney
Director
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
Glasgow
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168
pk@scmo.org
www.scmo.org  

TRIDENT THE MORAL ARGUMENT
CARDINAL KEITH O'BRIEN
THE TIMES 29 JUNE 2009

A recent 'Times' Editorial on the Trident weapons system noting that
"national defence is one of the cardinal duties of the statesman" caused
me to reflect on the moral duties of a Cardinal.

In the current debate surrounding the replacement of Trident, we have
heard a great deal in this newspaper and elsewhere about the financial,
diplomatic, military and political arguments relevant to retention or
rejection. By contrast we have heard precious little about the moral
arguments involved. Sometimes the debate around a particular topic
become so confused and nuanced that the moral considerations of any
decision can be lost in the fog.

In the context of Trident renewal, the moral case is really quite
simple. It cuts through and across any others. Because it is simple, let me put
it simply. In any and all circumstances the use of a nuclear weapon
would be immoral. Since, to use these weapons would be immoral, to
threaten their use is immoral and to hold them with a view to
threatening their use is also immoral.

We not only violate moral principles with our nuclear weapons but
undermine our moral authority in the world. We were prepared to engage
in a brutal war with Iraq to ensure that nation did not possess any
weapons of mass destruction. We did this in the belief that possession
of such weapons is morally reprehensible, which it is, unless of course
we possess them. Our duality and moral hypocrisy on this matter fatally
undermined our motivation in Iraq.

We must simply ask ourselves, 'are nuclear weapons useable?' The
inherently indiscriminate and devastatingly powerful destructive force
of a nuclear weapon makes it qualitatively different from any other type
of ordnance. Their first use, under any circumstances whatsoever, would
be immoral and a crime against God and humanity. Likewise, a
counter-strike in retaliation would be just as immoral, even more so,
because it would be motivated not by defence but by the hollow and
hellish vengeance of the vanquished. It is perhaps no coincidence that
one of the British Trident fleet is named HMS Vengeance.

In war a primary duty of the military is to protect the innocent and
non-combatants. This foundational aspect of military conflict through
the ages is brutally and utterly violated when a nuclear weapon is
deployed.
Even a tactical deployment would constitute such a violation, yet
Britain has no tactical nuclear weapons. Instead 200 identical warheads
leased from the USA and quartered for the most part in Scottish waters
comprise its strategic arsenal. Each one is eight times more powerful
than the bomb, which devastated Hiroshima.


We all accept that threatening behaviour is a crime. In the domestic
context it instils fear and mistrust and destroys relationships, so too
in the international military context. To the Christian and to most
people of faith threatening someone with such awesomely destructive
power runs utterly counter to the call of God. A call to love, peace and
reconciliation, not destruction, domination and force.

I join this debate as a Christian Minister a Catholic Bishop and a human
being who believes in the dignity and sanctity of human life. This
pro-life message is at the heart of the Catholic Church and is one the
Church champions, 'in season and out of season'. No one can uphold the
teachings of Christ unless they speak out in defence of life, and the
mass killing of innocent victims at any time and in any place.

Life, must mean life in all its fullness and at every stage, from
conception to natural death, and any premature taking of life at any
stage has deep moral implications. This is why the Catholic Church
opposes abortion, is immersed in international development, stands
against capital punishment, works to bring an end to the scandal of
child soldiers, the trade in small arms, and so much more. It is why the
Church has consistently opposed the development of nuclear weapons, and
why it demands their abolition, now more than ever.

None of what I say comes from me alone, but rather from the highest
moral authority in the Catholic Church; the Pope and the bishops working
together and in Council. The last Council was Vatican II over 40 years
ago, its teaching on this subject rings down through the decades: "Any
act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or
of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God
and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation."

This is moral teaching of the clearest kind, and my duty as bishop and
Cardinal is to pass that teaching on. To act morally, to do the right
thing, often takes courage, and sometimes means taking a stand that
others do not agree with or accept. That is the test of leadership.
Britain now has a golden opportunity to truly lead and to turn its back
on the path of mass destruction.

In doing so we can assist others, particularly Russia and the USA who
have shown much more willingness to be courageous than Britain has in
recent months, but who have so much further to go to disarm than we do.

Rejecting Trident, not in 2024 but right now, will bring economic
dividends at home and give moral leadership abroad. It would allow us,
at last, to stand on the moral high ground and to invite the nuclear
armed nations of the world to join us there.

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 157 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Bishops urge politicians to put human life at centre of Scotland’s political discourse

| 2 days ago | Blogging

Sunday 11 April 2021 Bishops urge politicians to put human life at centre of Scotland’s political discourse.   Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have released a pre-election Pastoral letter, urging Catholics to play their part “in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse” and to warn politicians against imposing “unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.   In a 1,000-word letter distributed online and via Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, the Bishops ask Catholic voters to give consideration to six key areas, when selecting a candidate:   Beginning and end of life Family and Work Poverty, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Environment Free speech, free expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion Catholic schools   Pointing out that “society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish” the bishops add; “government should respond to this reality with policies creating economic and fiscal advantages for families with children.”   Voters are also urged to visit the website rcpolitics.org and to use the resources there to help them consider a range of election issues and to question candidates.     ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to Editors:   The Election resources are available here:  https://rcpolitics.org/scottish-parliament-election-2021/   The full text of the Pastoral Letter is shown below:       Scottish Parliament Election 2021 - Putting Human Life and  Dignity at the Centre   A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   This election presents us with an opportunity to play our part in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse. As Catholics we have a duty: to share the Gospel and to help form the public conscience on key moral issues. It is a duty of both faith and citizenship.  This election is an opportunity to be the effective witness our Baptism calls us to be.  The new parliament and government will be tasked with leading the recovery from the damage wrought by the current health crisis and to tackle the significant impact it has had on many aspects of life including health care, mental health and wellbeing, religious freedom, and care for the poor. It must also build on the positives arising from the Pandemic, including caring for the most vulnerable, and a renewed sense of respect for human life, human dignity, and the value of community.   These are some of the issues you may want to consider in the forthcoming election:   Beginning and end of life It is the duty of parliamentarians to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right to life. Elected representatives ought to recognise the existence of human life from the moment of conception and be committed to the protection of human life at every stage. Caring for the unborn and their mothers is a fundamental measure of a caring and compassionate society; a society which puts human dignity at the centre.   We ought to be mindful of a further attempt to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, likely to happen in this parliament. Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia suggests that some lives are not worth living, contrary to the Christian belief that every life has equal dignity and value. It is incumbent upon our parliamentarians to show compassion for the sick and dying. This is not achieved by assisted suicide or euthanasia but by ensuring support is provided through caring and attentive politics, including investment in palliative care.   Family and Work Society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish. The love of man and woman in marriage and openness to new life is th...

Return to Worship in time for Easter

| 01st March 2021 | Blogging

Return to Worship in time for Easter 1 March 2021 Responding to last week’s statement on the reopening of Places of Worship by the First Minister, the Catholic Bishops of Scotland have issued a statement welcoming the move and calling for a removal of the cap, which limits the number of people who can attend. Instead, the bishops maintain congregation size should be calculated in accordance with the size of each church, a system similar to that used in the retail sector, which still maintains social distancing regulations.   The full text of the statement is shown below. ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     As Scotland’s Catholic bishops, we welcome the recent announcement by the First Minister foreseeing a return to our churches for the most important celebration of the liturgical year at Easter. We also welcome the recognition of the status of public worship implicit in this decision. The Catholic Community recognises the seriousness of the pandemic and is committed to working with others to avoid the spreading of infection. At the same time, we anticipate ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government regarding the requirement of a numerical “cap” on the number of worshippers. As we continue to observe social distancing  and the protocols on infection control and hygiene formulated by the Bishops’ Conference working group under the leadership of the former Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns, we maintain that it would be more appropriate for each church building to accommodate a congregation in proportion to its size rather than on the basis of an imposed number. We echo here the timely words Pope Francis addressed to the representatives of countries to the Holy See on the 8th February 2021: Even as we seek ways to protect human lives from the spread of the virus, we cannot view the spiritual and moral dimension of the human person as less important than physical health. The opening of churches is a sign that the sacrifices endured so far are bearing fruit and gives us hope and encouragement to persevere. We pray that the Risen Christ, for whom we long during this holy season of Lent, will bless and bring healing to our nation.  ...

Church leaders urge withdraw of controversial section of Hate Crime Bill

| 12th February 2021 | Blogging

Church leaders urge withdraw of controversial section of Hate Crime Bill to allow “adequate consideration”   Friday 12 February   An unprecedented alliance of Catholic and Evangelical church leaders are urging the Scottish Government to drop part of its proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill to allow time for “detailed consideration of crucial provisions.” The Bill, which would potentially criminalise any criticism of Transgender ideology has been criticised by the Catholic Church, the Free Church of Scotland and the Evangelical Alliance.   In a letter addressed today (Friday 12 February) to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf, the church leaders call for greater protections for freedom of expression and say:   “We believe that people should be completely free to disagree with our faith in any way, including mocking and ridiculing us. We are convinced that our faith is true and has a sufficient evidential basis to withstand any criticism, we therefore welcome open debate.”    By contrast, concerns are raised that any disagreement with or criticism of Transgender identity could fall foul of the new law, if passed in its current form. The church leaders point out, that “Transgender identity has been subject of extensive and emotional public discussion. Such free discussion and criticism of views is vital as society wrestles with these ideas.” They warn however, that they “cannot accept that any position or opinion at variance with the proposition that sex (or gender) is fluid and changeable should not be heard.”   The letter marks the first time Catholic, Free Church and Evangelical Alliance leaders have jointly petitioned the Scottish Government and sought a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Supporting “open and honest debate” the letter ends with an assertion, that “A right to claim that binary sex does not exist or is fluid must be matched with a right to disagree with that opinion; and protection from prosecution for holding it.” As well as a warning that: ”The Parliament now has approximately four weeks to complete the passage of the bill. This is extraordinarily tight and risks inadequate and ill-thought through legislation being passed. No workable solutions to issues of freedom of expression have so far been suggested. If no such solutions can be found we hope the Scottish Government will now consider withdrawing the stirring up hatred offences in Part 2 of the bill to allow more detailed consideration and discussion and to ensure freedom of expression provisions, which enshrine free and open debate, are afforded the scrutiny they require.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Notes to Editors:   The full text of the letter is shown below. Humza Yousaf MSP Cabinet Secretary for Justice The Scottish Government St. Andrew's House Edinburgh EH1 3DG   Friday 12th February 2021   Dear Mr Yousaf,     Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill – Stage 2 amendments   We are writing to you as representatives of three communities of churches in Scotland in relation to the progress of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) bill at Stage 2 and to ask if we may be able to meet with you in the coming days in relation to this.   As you know we have engaged extensively throughout the bill process including a number of meetings with you and your officials, and all gave oral evidence to the Justice Committee on 10th November. In all of this we have sought to play a constructive role. We recognise the sensitivities involved in this bill, have sought consensus, and looked to help play our part in protecting vulnerable communities from hate crime whilst at the same time protecting fundamental freedoms on which we all depend for our common life. Our approach has never been to just narrowly consider...

FUNERAL MASS FOR BISHOP VINCENT LOGAN 26 JANUARY 2021

| 26th January 2021 | Blogging

FUNERAL MASS FOR BISHOP VINCENT LOGAN 26/01/2021 It seems almost a cliche to say it, but every human person is a mystery. It’s not surprising though, as it is in God ‘we live and move and have our being’ and he himself is the ultimate mystery, and we have our origin in God. The Catechism reminds us that ‘we are most like unto God in our soul’, and since each one of us is unique in every way, to say we are a mystery seems almost like an understatement. And this mysteriousness is at so many levels. From the biological point of view, we are a mystery because we are formed by the mixing of our parents’ genes and by the environment in which we are planted. From a psychological point of view, we are formed by our parents by our families, by our siblings, friends and relations, by the circumstances of our lives and our loves, our knocks and our disappointments. Most of us have had the good fortune to have been conceived in love and nurtured and nourished in love. Others, though, regrettably haven’t had that great start. And often, for those who are fortunate, there is one great thread of God’s goodness that powerfully shapes us. For most of us, this powerful goodness originates in the Faith passed on to us from our parents, a thread which runs throughout our lives and more than any other influence, arguably, shapes and guides the direction of our lives. Also, for those of us fortunate enough to be baptised, as well as inheriting the common humanity into which we are created in the image and likeness of God, our baptism in Christ also confers on us divine filiation - sonship and daughtership in God - enabling us, as St Paul says, to call God, Abba, our Father. And we spend the rest of our lives on earth finding out what are the consequences for us of this wonderful gift: we never stop learning how to become a better son or a daughter of God. All of this is true of Vincent Paul Logan. Vincent was born on 30th June 1941 to Joseph and Elizabeth Logan (nee Flannigan) into a committed Bathgate Catholic family and - like all Bathgate Catholic bairns – Vincent, together with their other four sons, inherited a strong faith from them. Of Vincent’s brothers James, John, William and Joseph. Only James now is still alive. Later also, Vincent’s four married brothers’ spouses (Esther, Maeve, Grace and Celia) and subsequently their families – nephews (Vincent and Joseph here today), Gerard and Edward, also Paul, now deceased, who like Bishop Vincent, tried his vocation also at Drygrange Seminary, and nieces Elizabeth, Margaret, Lisa and Anne-Marie - All members of this great extended family had their influence on Bishop Vincent throughout his life, just as today they mourn for him, assisting him by their prayers and Masses on the cleansing road to the Heavenly Kingdom. But for a baptised Catholic man, who has in addition received a vocation from the Lord to priesthood, it is also his special relationships, outside the family - school friends, close friends met on life’s journey, fellow seminarians, priest friends and the pastoral and personal relationships a priest makes through his pastoral work, also continued to shape Vincent, up until almost the moment of his death. From his earliest days, Vincent Paul Logan wanted to be a priest. His desire to attend and serve Mass daily, as a young boy with his mother and brothers after their dad went off to work, of course pointed him in the direction of a vocation to priesthood. As a committed Altar Boy, Vincent’s first desire to put himself forward as a candidate for priesthood resulted, as he says himself, in ‘being chased’ in 1952 by Canon Davitt his parish priest because he was too young - only 11. A year later 1 though, in 1953, he went to Blairs, our National Junior Seminary, at 12 and his journey to priesthood began in earnest. Drygrange, the seminary for the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh was the next step towards priesth...