Vatican-backed treaty comes into force

A 2016 demonstration in Washington DC against nuclear weapons (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

A Holy See-supported treaty banning the possession of nuclear weapons is buoying efforts by nations and non-profit and Church organisations working to abolish such armaments. Source: CNS.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force on Friday, three months after the 50th nation ratified the historic document.

Nuclear abolition supporters said the treaty puts the world’s nine nuclear powers on notice that momentum to dismantle arsenals of the world’s most destructive weapons is building.

“We have an opportunity to move in a different direction now. We have to convince the nuclear states to take this seriously, to take this as an opportunity to move to a new conversation in the nuclear age,” said Marie Dennis, the Washington-based senior adviser to Pax Christi International’s secretary general.

The treaty resulted from months of negotiations at the United Nations in 2017 led by non-nuclear countries. Ms Dennis described the effort as an example of the Catholic social teaching principle of participation.

The Holy See was the among the first to ratify the treaty, which was approved by 122 United Nations members. Netherlands was the only country to vote against it while Singapore abstained.

The nuclear nations and those under the United States nuclear umbrella opposed the measure and played little, if any, role in negotiations. In addition to the US, the countries possessing nuclear weapons are Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, said the Holy See is encouraging nations to build trust and move toward abolition.

“We consider that an important part of our work,” he said.

FULL STORY

Catholic advocates welcome treaty banning nuclear weapons coming into force (By Dennis Sadowski, CNS

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