US bishops mark anniversary of atomic bombings, condemn ‘total war’

.- The 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki provides an opportunity to reflect on the lessons of the Second World War and to recommit to efforts for a lasting peace built on justice, said the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “Hiroshima and Nagasaki are permanent reminders to the entire human family of the grave consequences of total war,” said USCCB president Bishop William Skylstad yesterday in a letter to Bishop Augustinus Jun-ichi Nomura, president of the bishops’ conference of Japan.

The bishop of Spokane expressed the U.S. bishops’ solidarity with the Church in Japan and offered prayers for peace and justice.

He also warned that while the threat of global nuclear war has diminished, the threat of terrorism has increased. Terrorist attacks, like the “total war” exemplified by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, result in “indiscriminate destruction and death to civilians and soldiers alike,” he said.

Both crimes are against God and humanity “and merit the same unequivocal condemnation,” Bishop Skylstad wrote, citing Gaudium et Spes. 

The memories of World War II and the atomic bombings “compel our Conference and the entire Church to continue working for nuclear non-proliferation and the elimination of nuclear weapons,” he added.

Bishop Skylstad stated that the USCCB will continue to urge the U.S. government to “move away from its reliance on nuclear weapons for security and to commit itself to international non-proliferation and the successful control of nuclear materials in this age of terrorism.”

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