The Catholic Church and Nuclear Disarmament

November 28, 2016

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On November 17, a panel at Georgetown University will discuss the results of a historic encounter between U.S. Catholic bishops and five Iranian religious leaders regarding, among other topics, nuclear weapons. Though the stockpile is decreasing, there are still an estimated 15,500 nuclear warheads among nine nations worldwide. With recent comments from the Holy See, many believe the Vatican is shifting its stance to press the moral case for a world free of nuclear weapons. Growing fears of a nuclear conflict mean that nuclear proliferation is of paramount importance in foreign policy debates and in religious communities.

What role does religion, and in particular the Catholic Church, have to play in the debates about nuclear disarmament? How has the Church shifted its position regarding nuclear weapons over time? Do religious leaders have a moral obligation to become involved in preventing nuclear proliferation? What benefits can be derived from religious cooperation in diffusing a potentially volatile international environment?

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