In his message released Wednesday to coincide with a meeting in New York of a UN conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, Francis said that the international juridical framework is grounded on peace, the pacific solution of disputes and the development of friendly relations between nations.
“An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind – are contradictory to the very spirit of the United Nations,” the Pope stated. “We must therefore commit ourselves to a world without nuclear weapons, by fully implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, both in letter and spirit.”
While acknowledging the manifold threats to peace and security “in this multipolar world of the twenty-first century,” including “terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, poverty,” Francis suggested the inadequacy of nuclear deterrence “as an effective response to such challenges.”
Not only is nuclear deterrence insufficient, the pontiff continued, but the proliferation of nuclear weapons raises other concerns as well, such as “the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences that would follow from any use of nuclear weapons, with devastating, indiscriminate and uncontainable effects, over time and space.”