Speaking at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial during his trip to Japan, Pope Francis decried the use and possession of nuclear weapons as “immoral.”
Pope Francis made his plea Sunday during the “Meeting for Peace” at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the epicenter of the atomic bomb dropped during World War II that destroyed over 90% of the cities buildings and killed 80,000 instantly, with some 60,000 more dying later from residual radiation.
“How can we propose peace if we constantly invoke the threat of nuclear war as a legitimate recourse for the resolution of conflicts? May the abyss of pain endured here remind us of boundaries that must never be crossed. A true peace can only be an unarmed peace.”
He called for a universal nuclear disarmament as the only path to a true peace, giving a warning that “we will be judged on this.”
“Indeed, if we really want to build a more just and secure society, we must let the weapons fall from our hands. I am convinced that peace is no more than an empty word unless it is founded on truth, built up in justice, animated and perfected by charity, and attained in freedom.”
He also called the use and possession of nuclear weapons for war “immoral,” a “crime against the dignity of human beings.”
“The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral, as I already said two years ago. How can we speak of peace even as we build terrifying new weapons of war? How can we speak about peace even as we justify illegitimate actions by speeches filled with discrimination and hate?”
Holding a moment of silence for the victims of the bombing on Hiroshima, he prayed for an end to war and an end to the use of nuclear weapons.
“In a single plea to God and to all men and women of good will, on behalf of all the victims of atomic bombings and experiments, and of all conflicts, let us together cry out from our hearts: Never again war, never again the clash of arms, never again so much suffering!”
You can read Pope Francis’ full address here.