The United Kingdom’s current nuclear-weapon capability is not expected to be sustainable beyond the early 2020s without major new investments in renewal or replacement, and decisions about its continuance need to be taken soon, the bishops note.
“The very existence of nuclear weapons has always posed grave moral questions,” the bishops say in a Nov. 21 statement. “Their uniquely destructive power means that they belong in a different category from any other weapons.”
“Our judgment is that, by decommissioning its nuclear weapons, the UK now has a unique opportunity to offer the international community an approach to security and legitimate self-defense without the unconscionable threat of nuclear destruction,” they write.
“At the same time it could give a new impetus to the wider process towards total nuclear disarmament,” they add.
They cite Pope Benedict XVI, who argues that “the retention of nuclear weapons does not enhance the security of their possessors or the peace of the world.”
Church teaching, they write, has always been clear about the vital necessity for eventual total nuclear disarmament.
.- The bishops of England and Wales are urging the British government to “act with courageous leadership” and to lead the international community in nuclear disarmament.