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Pax Christi USA - PSA e-Bulletin
Pray-Study-Act: 67th Anniversary of Hiroshima, Nagasaki
Does it still concern us as Catholics and Christians?
In This Issue
PRAY: Prayer for a nuclear-free world
STUDY: Opportunities to study, educate on nuclear disarmament
ACT: Witness, fast, petition

On The Web

Host a showing of the excellent documentary, The Forgotten Bomb 


 Check out the website for Nuclear Watch for more resources


 See Pax Christi USA's webpage on "A New Moment for Nuclear Disarmament"


The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability is a national network of organizations working on nuke issues


Read the Apostolic Nuncio's speech on nuclear weapons from last summer 

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July 12, 2012



Nuclear de-alerting sign-on adIf we just had two of Christ's statements - "Put down your sword," and "Blessed are the Peacemakers," we should know that as Christians we should be opposed to nuclear weapons. The bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 6 and 9, 1945, were a complete game-changer--for the first time people had the capacity to destroy whole cities, and a global paranoia began to spread about the bomb. 


As we all know, those first atomic bombs were nothing compared to the hydrogen bombs that we have today as the first hydrogen bomb that the U.S. tested on November 1, 1952 was 450 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki some seven years before. To quote General Omar Bradley, "The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than living."


Today we live in a world where nine countries hold the world hostage to their nuclear terrorism. These nine countries possess 19,000 nuclear warheads with some 4,400 of those to be operational. Despite the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia still have nuclear weapons pointed at one another and on high alert. To quote former Secretary of State George Shultz, "It's a very unstable situation. I think it's outrageous."


Now many will say that nuclear weapons have not been used in war since August 9, 1945--so why should we be worried? Even without the use of these genocidal weapons, their shadow looms across the world, because if we remember it was President Bush who was able to take our country into war against Iraq by saying,  "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."


"The taproot of violence in our society today is our intent to use nuclear weapons. Once we have agreed to that, all other evil is minor in comparison. Until we squarely face the question of our consent to use nuclear weapons, any hope of large scale improvement of public morality is doomed to failure." - Richard T. McSorley, SJ


In peace,


Bud Ryan and Ellie Voutselas

for Pax Christi New Mexico

PRAY: Prayer for a Nuclear-Free World

O Cosmic Christ of the Universe,

Hear our prayers and petitions for peace,

              in these times of chaos and fear.


You, who have endowed us with the capacity

              for love, compassion and generosity,

Lead us toward global harmony and nonviolence,

Away from the false security of war, violence

              and nuclear weapons,

Away from the holocaust of the human race and

              massive global destruction.


Through your eternal grace

Inspire our voices to call for the dismantlement of

                nuclear factories and bombs of death,

Inspire our hearts with the desire and intention for

                global nuclear disarmament,

And transform our spirits into peacemakers of Christ,

                 for "Blessed are the peacemakers." Amen.

STUDY: Opportunities to study, educate

on nuclear disarmament

With the passage of each year from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the voice of the Hibakusha, bomb survivors, grows dimmer, and politicians and leaders forget the horrors of what happened there. We have fallen into a false sense of security that we have nothing to fear from these genocidal weapons, that in fact these weapons have prevented another world war from breaking out. So it is up to people like us, people of faith in the God of Love, to remind our fellow citizens and our leaders and politicians that just by the mere possession of these weapons we are doing damage to our souls.


"The nuclear threat presents the world with what is genuinely a crisis of survival. But for Christians, it is also a crisis of faith. Like slavery, the danger of nuclear holocaust is not simply a political matter; it is an issue that tests the very credibility of what we say we believe about Jesus Christ. The simplest meaning of the nuclear arms race is that the world's most powerful nations are prepared to commit mass murder. To build weapons of ultimate destruction and to be ready to use them are the marks of a people who are in danger of losing their minds and souls." - Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It


It is up to us as members of Pax Christi, whether individually or in a group setting, to gather the pertinent facts about nuclear weapons so we can help educate those around us and enlist them in the struggle for nuclear abolition. While we don't have to become experts, we do need to have a general knowledge about the dangers of these weapons. On the spiritual side of the issue, the documents that make up Catholic social teaching are a wonderful resource; offer a study group in your parish of Pacem In Terris, The Church in the Modern World, or The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response to remind ourselves and our fellow Catholics that our Church has a long history of being against nuclear weapons. Share what you've learned with your fellow parishioners, priests and bishops, and ask them to stand with you in the abolition movement.  


"Peacemaking is not an optional commitment. It is a requirement of our faith. We are called to be peacemakers, not by some movement of the moment, but by our Lord Jesus. The content and context of our peacemaking is set, not by some political agenda or ideological program, but by the teaching of his Church." - from The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response


Click here to read the April 2010 Pax Christi USA newsletter which focuses on nuclear disarmament.

ACT: Witness, fast, petition

Every year we in Pax Christi New Mexico travel to Los Alamos, the birthplace of the bomb, on or near the anniversary of Hiroshima to pray that nuclear weapons be abolished, to say we're sorry for the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to ask God to remove the violence from our own hearts and minds. We do this while wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes while remaining silent for 30 minutes. The idea for this came about from a statement that Dorothy Day made after the atomic bombings that we should all be wearing sackcloth and ashes and asking God for forgiveness for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dorothy took her inspiration from the Book of Jonah where the people of Nineveh, including the king, put on sackcloth to repent to God for their sins.


1. Consider doing something similar to Pax Christi New Mexico's Sackcloth and Ashes witness in a noticeable place in your community. Please let us know (email Bud at [email protected]) if you plan to do something, as we'll add it to the list on nukefreenow.org so we can let the press and others know that its not just those of us in Los Alamos who are remembering what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and are working towards nuclear abolition.


2. As part of the Nuke Free Now Hiroshima Commemoration, Alaric Balibrera, son of a former Los Alamos Lab employee, is starting a hunger strike on July 16th, which is the anniversary of the very first atomic explosion here in Alamagordo, New Mexico in 1945. Alaric is undertaking this hunger strike to increase awareness of the continued nuclear threat that we are all under. He hopes to continue his fast for nuclear disarmament at least until August 6th and he has 7 demands that are directed to Congress, the Lab's Director and to all of us. Alaric is asking others to join him in his hunger strike, even if just for a day, and to go to nukefreenow.org to let us know if you plan to join him so we can let our elected officials and the media know that there are people who are very committed to nuclear disarmament.


3. Consider having your group start a petition drive or letter-writing campaign, to their Senators & Congresspersons, built around the Non-Proliferation Treaty that states in Article VI, "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control." The NPT Treaty went into effect in May 1970, forty-two years ago and we still don't have nuclear disarmament--why? A good day to start the petition drive would be Sunday, August 5th, maybe after Mass, or at a downtown site that gets lots of foot traffic.


"Our nuclear war preparations are the global crucifixion of Jesus. What we do to the least of these, through our nuclear war planning, we do to Jesus. This is his teaching. We cannot avoid it and we should not try. Our nuclear weapons are the final crucifixion of Jesus, the extermination of the human family with whom he is one." - Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen