News / Europe

    Pope Francis Calls for Nuclear Weapons Ban

    Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic palace in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Aug. 9, 2015.
    Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic palace in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Aug. 9, 2015.
    VOA News

    Pope Francis called for a global ban on nuclear weapons Sunday as Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Nagasaki days before the end of World War Two.

    The pontiff said the memories of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945 remain as a call for nuclear disarmament.

    "After so long that tragic event still causes horror and repulsion," the pope said in Rome.

    "It became the symbol of the boundless destructive power of man, when the achievements of science and technology are put to wrong use. It remains a permanent warning for humanity to reject war forever and to ban nuclear weapons and every weapon of mass destruction," Francis said.

    The pope said he wishes there would be "one voice" that says, "no to war, no to violence, yes to dialogue, yes to peace. With war we always lose."

    Nagasaki ceremony

    Bells tolled and tens of thousands of people in Japan observed a minute's silence Sunday to mark the Nagasaki attack that killed 74,000 people. It came three days after a similar observance to remember the attack on Hiroshima that claimed an estimated 140,000 lives.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid a wreath at the Nagasaki ceremony, which was attended by representatives of 75 countries, including U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.

    "As the only country attacked with an atomic bomb in war," Abe said, "I am renewing our determination to lead the global effort for nuclear disarmament, to create a world without such weapons."

    There are believed to be nine countries in the world with nuclear weaponry, the United States, Russia, China, Israel, France, Britain, North Korea, Pakistan and India.

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    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    August 11, 2015 7:10 PM
    The genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back in. Innocence has been lost. The human race now has within its power the ability to eradicate all human life on this tiny insignificant speck of dust in a universe that has no limit in time and space in any terms humans can understand. Did those who persecuted Galileo see that it would inevitably come to this in some dim future? That the power they claimed to represent would be so vastly eclipsed that it would be insignificant by comparison to man's own power? The earth is no longer the center of the universe and the priests today who hold sway are called physicists who wear lab coats instead of frocks.

    by: David P from: England
    August 11, 2015 5:07 PM
    There are several bleak commnets here. We live in a world of seeming perpetual war, whose perpetrators are not put off by the fact that 9 governments possess the means to nuclear destruction. So I welcome the Pope's remarks, and those of any other world leader who also wishes to see nuclear disarmament and is prepared to do whatever they can to achieve that great task.

    by: Tom Murphy from: Heartland America
    August 11, 2015 12:59 AM
    I completely understand the motivation of the Pope to want to rid the world of the horror of nuclear war. In an ideal world where the promises of all men are kept, such a ban might work. But we do not live in an ideal world. We live in the world where invasions of neighboring countries are conducted by soldiers "on vacation". We live in the world where the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are mourned but the destruction of Nanging is not acknowledged and the live dissection of US airmen by Japan is not admitted or acknowledged. We live in the world where a nation can foreswear only the peaceful uses of nuclear technology until enough nuclear material is amassed so that it can threaten the world with nuclear war. We live in the world where massive concentration camps exist where families are tortured to death while a dictator treats his favored followers to the latest amusement parks. In this real world that we live in only the threat of nuclear annihilation prevents cynical dictators from making merciless war against their neighbors.

    by: Paddy
    August 10, 2015 9:02 PM
    What Prime Minister Abe and the Pope omit to mention is that "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbour that drew the USA into the war.
    Both these men need to carefully revisit the past and reflect why Japan followed this course of war which cost so many lives and led to the bombing of Japan. Then again there is the visit by Prime Minister Abe recently to the war shrine, how much has changed?

    by: Gopal Iyer from: Mumbai
    August 10, 2015 3:33 AM
    This is precisely the need of the hour. We should understand that the world have still uncivilized savages who are trigger hungry not knowing that they themselves (user) would not survive today's nuclear weapons.

    I would request pope and all religious leaders to mobilize destruction of all stock piles of nuclear weapon all over the world and install global inspection agencies to enforce the same


    by: BritBob from: UK
    August 09, 2015 3:16 PM
    And failed to condemn Argentina's 1982 Falklands' invasion and as late at 2012 stated that the Islands were Argentinean. But of course he's wrong:https://www.academia.edu/10490336/Argentinas_Illegitimate_Sovereignty_Claims
    In Response

    by: fouk from: usa
    August 10, 2015 5:27 PM
    Why should pope do that? And how and why UK has sovereignty over falklands... still living in colonial times???

    by: Richat from: India
    August 09, 2015 1:49 PM
    exactly is being said by the Pope that today what the countries should reflect on is how they could live in harmony, peace and brotherhood not propagating war against each other.

    by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
    August 09, 2015 1:34 PM
    Cyberwar will eventually either intentionally or accidentally result in a nuclear launch, whether done by a nation, a small private group, or a software wizard or three who dislike people. With nuclear stockpiles being what they are, including the large number in Israel -- up to one nuke per 14,000 of its citizens -- a cyberwar caused nuclear war is inevitable.

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