The Church Says ‘No’ to Nuclear Weapons: Pastoral and moral implications

Drew Christiansen SJ

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The teaching of the Church has evolved from a conditioned acceptance of nuclear deterrence in the 1980s, to rejection of deterrence as an unacceptable moral rationalization for nuclear armament in the 2000s, to strong support for nuclear disarmament in recent years, leading to approval for the Ban Treaty in September 2017. Catholics have the right to ask, “Which position should I take?”

I would be less than candid if I did not report a degree of consternation among those serious about their Catholic faith that they have not yet received clearer guidance on how to address their civic and professional obligations with respect to nuclear weapons in light of the Church’s current teaching condemning “the possession and threat to use nuclear weapons.”

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