In the article behind this LINK, retired Catholic Bishop Tom Gumbleton, who was on the committee that formed the 1983 Catholic Bishop’s Peace Pastoral Letter, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response, has stated that the U.S. bishops must begin challenging the government to disarm in light of Pope Francis’ November 10 statement that condemns the possession of nuclear weapons.

An excerpt: “‘The pope has said something that … has put it back in the court of the local bishops’ conferences,” Gumbleton said in a Nov. 16 interview with NCR. “And the United States obviously, since we have the largest capability of nuclear destruction, we should be in the front row of those trying to change things.’

‘I feel certain, based on [the pope’s] conviction that possession is wrong, he would want something like this spelled out: why it’s wrong, what you must do to change it,’ Gumbleton said.

Gumbleton is among a number of Catholic disarmament advocates who see Francis’ Nov. 10 statement, given as part of a talk to participants in a high-profile Vatican conference on nuclear weapons issues, as a development away from the church’s prior acceptance of deterrence as a strategy.

Marie Dennis, the co-president of Catholic peace group Pax Christi International, wrote in an article for NCR on Nov. 21 that the pope’s words “definitively brought the Catholic Church into full agreement” with a July U.N. treaty signed by 122 countries that calls for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.”

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