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Bishops Support Treaty; Pledge to Urge Senate to Ratify Pact
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Monday, April 12, 2010
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WASHINGTON (CNS)—The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the signing of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and Russia and promised to urge the U.S. Senate to ratify the pact in a letter to President Barack Obama.

"Based on a moral imperative to rid the world of nuclear weapons, the conference of bishops will be a steadfast supporter of strong and bipartisan action on the new treaty as an important and essential step toward a nuclear-free future," Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago wrote April 8 to the White House.

"We will urge members of the U.S. Senate to come together across party lines to ratify the new START treaty," Cardinal George said.

Citing the church's teaching on just war and its long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons, Cardinal George said the road to a world free of such weapons will be difficult, but that the pact between the world's primary nuclear powers is another step toward greater global security.

The letter also outlined some of the steps necessary toward eventual nuclear disarmament including verification of reductions in both countries' nuclear stockpiles; ratification and implementation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to stop all nuclear weapons testing; reducing America's reliance on nuclear weapons for security; securing nuclear materials from terrorists, which is the topic of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington April 12-13; adopting a treaty to prohibit produce of weapons-grade material; and strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor nonproliferation efforts and ensure access to peaceful uses of nuclear power.

"We are pastors and teachers, not technical experts," Cardinal George said. "We cannot map out the precise route to the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, but we can offer moral direction and encouragement."

"Although we cannot anticipate every step on the path humanity must walk, we can point with moral clarity to a destination that moves beyond deterrence to a world free of the nuclear threat," he said.

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