National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

A thank you to peace advocates

 | 

We continue to remember fondly the clarity with which former Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen spoke out against nuclear weapons and the U.S. system of nuclear deterrence. It was in 1981 that Hunthausen termed the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Wash., “the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.” These days the protests of these weapons by our church’s prelates have become more muted and nuanced. That said, we welcome and commend Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., Bishop Robert W. Finn’s timely statement questioning the wisdom of a new $673 million ($1.2 billion over 20 years) nuclear weapons plant, which was dedicated Sept. 8 in Kansas City (see story here).

It is nothing less than outrageous that when our nation’s leaders are attempting to renegotiate a new global nuclear proliferation treaty, pressuring other nations (especially sworn enemies Iran and North Korea) from expanding their nuclear weapons programs, we move forward updating our own nuclear weapons systems even as we hide plans to build a new generation of nuclear weapons from the general public.

Given the direct threats to humanity that nuclear weapons pose, the tinderbox nature of the world today, the overwhelming size of our nuclear weapons system, and the misappropriation of limited resources updating these weapons’ force, we commend those brave protesters — many of them Catholic Workers — who are raising unpopular but relevant moral issues. A number of men and women have modeled nonviolent resistance by standing up to bulldozers and have gotten arrested to make their messages heard.

The head of the office of human rights for the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese read Finn’s statement as dignitaries were arriving for a plant groundbreaking ceremony and protesters were being arrested Sept. 8. The new nuclear weapons manufacturing plant replaces an aging plant and will make nonnuclear parts for U.S. nuclear weapons.

Up until Finn issued his statement Sept. 2, the only other local official voice opposing the building of the plant was that of Kansas City Councilmember Ed Ford — who, alone on the 12-member city council, consistently voted against the building and funding of the plant. Given local public apathy to the issues involved, an official focus only on the jobs being stimulated by the project, and the media’s seeming indifference to the wider social and moral issues at hand, Finn’s statement stands out as a major moment of leadership.

Christmas-in-content-block.jpg Give a Christmas gift that lasts all year. Give the gift of NCR!

We echo the plea contained in the last paragraph of Finn’s statement, which reads: “Let us make a decision for all of humanity: that one day this facility may be transformed from a producer of weapons into a producer of goods that benefit all mankind. We look forward to the day when Isaiah the prophet declared, ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.’ ”

Thank you, peace advocates — whether you wear jeans and sweatshirts, or a pectoral cross upon your chest.

Related reporting from NCR:

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Christmas-Feature-Flag-275x60.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

November 21-December 5, 2014

11-21-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.