The Catholic bishops of Massachusetts have urged the ratification of a nuclear weapons treaty between the U.S. and Russia. Eliminating such weapons is based on a “deep commitment to preserving human life and dignity,” they said.
In a Nov. 5 letter to Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.), the bishops said the Catholic Church has “long been concerned about the threat of nuclear weapons.” They explained that the Holy See and the U.S. bishops continue to promote the two interrelated goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
They advocated the Senate’s ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed on April 8.
“We truly believe that this step is critical to making our world safer,” the bishops wrote.
The U.S. military leadership and nearly all past commanders of American nuclear forces have called for the treaty to be passed, according to the Washington Post reports.
The agreement would reduce the number of deployed long-range nuclear warheads from 2,200 to 1,550 among both American and Russian forces. It would also allow both countries to monitor the number and location of each other’s nuclear weapons. These inspections ended in December when the first START treaty expired.
President Obama has called passage of the treaty his top foreign policy priority during the lame-duck Congressional session. Treaties require 67 votes to pass the Senate. Republican electoral gains in the 2010 election will mean more bipartisan work for the president if the START treaty is not passed this session.