US Bishops Urge Congress to Ratify Nuclear Treaty

Encourage Arms Reduction, Non-Proliferation

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 30, 2010 ( The U.S. bishops are urging congressmen to ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to decrease nuclear weaponry.

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, sent a letter Monday to all senators underlining this request.

The New START agreement was signed April 8 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, but it has yet to be ratified by congress.

According to the treaty, the nuclear arsenals of both countries would be reduced by 30%.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the newly elected president of the bishops’ conference, affirmed, «I renew and reemphasize the position taken by my predecessor, Cardinal Francis George, that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is ‘a steadfast supporter of strong and bipartisan action on the new START Treaty.'»

In his letter to the senators, Bishop Hubbard affirmed that «both the Holy See and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops support the New START Treaty because it is a modest step toward a world with greater respect for human life.»

Its ratification is «critical,» he stated, «because verification ensures transparency and transparency builds trust.»

Dangerous situation

The prelate continued: «The earlier verification and monitoring requirements expired one year ago. Without a new treaty there is no verification requirement in place, a disturbing and potentially dangerous situation our nation has not faced in decades.»

«The Church’s concern for nuclear weapons grows out of its commitment to the sanctity of human life,» he affirmed.

The bishop warned: «Nuclear weapons are a grave threat to human life and dignity.

«Nuclear war is rejected in Church teaching because the use of nuclear weapons cannot ensure noncombatant immunity and their destructive potential and lingering radiation cannot be meaningfully proportionate.»

«Consistent with Catholic teaching,» he stated, «the Holy See and the U.S. bishops have long supported reducing the number of nuclear armaments, preventing their spread to other nations, and securing nuclear materials from terrorists.»

«For decades they have promoted the twin and interrelated policy goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,» Bishop Hubbard affirmed.

He added, «We understand this is an ideal that will take years to reach, but it is a task which our nation must take up with renewed energy.»

On behalf of the conference, the prelate urged «strong bipartisan support for the New START Treaty because the treaty makes our nation and world safer by reducing nuclear weapons in a verifiable way.»

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