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Obama disarmament speech 'a world changing moment'


In a remarkable speech for any American leader,President Obama, speaking in Prague on April 5, 2009, provided new hope for a world free of nuclear weapons.

“I state clearly and with conviction,” he said, “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” He told his audience that America, as the only country to have used nuclear weapons, “has a moral responsibility to act.”

For many years the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has been calling for US leadership for a nuclear weapons-free world, based on the understanding that if the US does not lead, significant progress will not be possible. For the past two presidential terms this leadership has been largely lacking.

During the George W. Bush presidency, the US was the leading obstacle to nuclear disarmament. Now, with President Obama, there is a dramatic shift and the goal of US leadership for a nuclear weapons-free world that once seemed far distant, if not impossible, appears at hand.

Peace group hails Obama nuke disarmament call


Pax Christi USA, the Catholic peace organization, has hailed President Obama's nuclear disarmament call.

“This is an exciting moment, a new moment in the long struggle to bring fundamental change to U.S. nuclear weapons policies and an important first step,” said Dave Robinson, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement.

Obama commits U.S. to nuclear disarmament


President Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to unequivocally commit the United States to a long-term goal of ridding itself and the world of nuclear weapons.

Obama spelled out a broad three-part plan:

- Changing U.S. nuclear strategy and working with Russia to further slash their stockpiles of warheads.

-Working to control the spread of weapons, including creating an international fuel bank to let non-nuclear powers get materials needed for nuclear power without developing the capacity to create material for weapons, as is feared in Iran.

Bad economy linked to increased abortions


WASHINGTON -- As Beth O'Reilly of Manassas, Va., grows larger with child, the Catholic mother of two other young children sees her home budget getting smaller as the economy becomes more unstable.

She is seven months pregnant. She said the prospect of the added expenses that will accompany the arrival of her child has created some anxiety in her household, but her religious convictions prevented her from terminating her pregnancy.

"We're upside down in our mortgage and people all around us are getting laid off from their jobs," O'Reilly said as she pumped gas into her sport utility vehicle during a recent stop at a suburban Maryland station. "If my husband loses his job, we're going to be in real trouble."

It didn't surprise her to learn that abortion clinics across the U.S. were reporting increased traffic in the past several months. She told a Catholic News Service reporter she was convinced the economic meltdown has caused expectant mothers to panic about their finances and how they will be able to afford a new baby right now.

US, Russia agree to reduce nuclear warheads


U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, after holding their first face-to-face meeting in London ahead of the G20 summit, promised April 1 a new era in relations between the United States and Russia and made a milestone bid to agree far-reaching nuclear arms cuts.

"Over the last several years, the relationship between our two countries has been allowed to drift," Obama told reporters after his meeting with Medvedev. "What I believe we've begun today is a very constructive dialogue that will allow us to work on issues of mutual interest."

Obama stated that the two countries have started a constructive dialogue on issues that are related with the deployment of the anti-missile system, the tackle of terrorism and financial stability.

They agreed to work overtime to negotiate a replacement for the seminal 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expires at year's end.

The following is a transcript of the remarks delivered by Obama and Medvedev:

U.S. bishops strangely absent from nuclear debate



President Barack Obama April 5, speaking in Prague, became the first U.S. president to unequivocally commit the United States to a long-term goal of ridding itself and the world of nuclear weapons.

From 1983 to 1993 the U.S. bishops were a leading voice challenging the conventional Cold War assumptions of most American politicians, defense officials and many others about nuclear deterrence and disarmament.

Sounding a lot like the Obama but decades ahead, the U.S. bishops' pastoral letter, "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response," called for nuclear disarmament. The pastoral changed the way U.S. presidents and other civil leaders began to talk about almost all issues of war and peace.

Meanwhile, the language of the Catholic just war tradition became a standard part of their discourse, even if sometimes it was badly misused.

Ex-offenders struggle for second chance


WASHINGTON -- Germain Stoddard says employers are impressed when they see the range of experience on his resumé: nearly three decades spent working construction, landscaping, printing and furniture manufacturing jobs within the prison industry. But after a brief interview, they thank him and say they will be in touch. He gets the feeling they are just going through the motions.

Since his release from prison in November, the D.C. resident has been on 21 interviews for food preparation, hotel and construction jobs. Not one has resulted in an offer of employment.

Medvedev, Obama can change global nuclear policy


President Obama will meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for the first time on April 1, on the eve of the upcoming G-20 meeting. As with previous Russian and American leaders in the nuclear age, the future of life on the planet may rest upon their chemistry and ability to work together.

These two men will have the chance to change the course of global nuclear policy, setting their two countries and all humanity on a far less dangerous path. Both men have called for such change. Both have expressed support for the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Their opening dialogue on issues of nuclear disarmament will likely set the tone for their work over the next few years.

Full text of speech by Bishop Gabino Zavala


This is the text of a speech delivered by Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles March 11 at the University of Great Falls in Great Falls, Mont. Zavala is bishop-president of Pax Christi USA, the Catholic peace organization. The University of Great Falls is a Roman Catholic liberal arts university.

I am so pleased and honored to be with you tonight. I would like to express my gratitude to the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings and the Catholic University of Great Falls for sponsoring tonight’s gathering. And I want to give special thanks to Bishop Warfel for this invitation to come, and also for his leadership in our Church on concerns of justice and peace, for he has served on the International Policy Committee of U.S. Bishops Conference, and as a bishop member of Pax Christi USA.

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