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Cardinal Parolin: elimination of nuclear weapons a moral imperative

The Vatican Secretary of State speaks at a conference on disarmament promoted in Assisi by the "Committee for a Civilization of Love". He argues that the challenge is to adopt forward-looking strategies to achieve the common good and overcome the logic of deterrence. He relaunches the Pope's idea of converting weapons resources into a fund to fight poverty and promote development.

By Michele Raviart – Vatican City

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, offered his thoughts via an inaugural video message to a conference on looking at ways to eliminate nuclear weapons and divert spending for humanitarian purposes. The meeting was organized by the Italian-based "Committee for a Civilization of Love" and held at the Sacro Convento in Assisi. Cardinal Parolin noted that the pandemic "is teaching us an important lesson", namely that "it is necessary to reconsider our concept of security", which "cannot be based on the threat of mutual destruction and fear, but must find its foundation in justice, integral human development, respect for human rights, care for creation, promotion of educational and health facilities, dialogue and solidarity".

Real and lasting trust between Nations

The meeting brought together different realities committed to promoting disarmament, the elimination of nuclear arsenals and their conversion into peace initiatives. Cardinal Parolin lauded these efforts that are in line with the Holy See's vision of an international community based on the development and strengthening of "real and lasting trust" among nations. Such far-sighted strategies are necessary and urgent, he added, in the search for the common good.

Beyond fear and isolationism

"The ultimate goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons is both a challenge and a moral and humanitarian imperative," the Cardinal said and "a practical approach should promote reflection on a multilateral and cooperative ethic of peace and security that goes beyond the fear and isolationism that permeate many current debates." In this sense, there are two moments in the coming months when the international community has the opportunity to reflect on these issues.

2022 diplomatic conferences

Next January the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will take place. Cardinal Parolin says this will offer "a crucial moment for the international community and in particular for the nuclear powers" to "clearly demonstrate their ability to understand today's challenges, to face them and to resolve them." In March the first meeting between the signatories of the recent Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will take place. Nuclear powers and states militarily allied to them (with the exception of the Netherlands) are not party to this treaty which came into force last January. At the same time, Cardinal Parolin called it "a success of multilateral diplomacy," recalling how "its negotiation and entry into force would not have been possible without the action of the many civil society associations committed to the continuous promotion of disarmament and peace."

The Pope's words on disarmament

In conclusion, Cardinal Parolin recalled Pope Francis' words for the 54th World Day of Peace on January 1, which should be considered as a guide for the next steps towards disarmament. "How many resources are spent on weaponry, especially nuclear weapons?" the Pope asks in the message. The answer he says would be to designate these resources for the promotion of peace, integral human development, and health through an institution such as global fund "in order to permanently eliminate hunger and contribute to the development of the poorest countries.”

17 November 2021, 12:59