July 13, 2020

Statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace on the 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 6 and 9 mark the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first, and one hopes the last, times that atomic weapons are employed in war. Since Pope St. John Paul II’s visit to Japan in 1981, each year the Catholic Church in Japan has observed Ten Days of Prayer for Peace. In observation of this 75th anniversary, we invite Catholics in the United States, and all those of good will, to come together in solidarity in our personal prayers and Masses on Sunday, August 9.

The 21st century continues to witness geopolitical conflicts with state and non-state actors, increasingly sophisticated weapons, and the erosion of international arms control frameworks. The bishops of the United States steadfastly renew the urgent call to make progress on the disarmament of nuclear weapons. The Church in the U.S. proclaims her clarion call and humble prayer for peace in our world which is God’s gift through the salvific sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

“A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions of men and women everywhere,” Pope Francis said during his visit to Nagasaki last year. He continued, “Our response to the threat of nuclear weapons must be joint and concerted, inspired by the arduous yet constant effort to build mutual trust and thus surmount the current climate of distrust.”

Recently, we, the bishops of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace re-affirmed the Holy Father’s call to “renewed effort to bring about a world of peace and justice that is not based upon fear or the threat of nuclear annihilation but justice and human solidarity.” Fear, distrust, and conflict must be supplanted by our joint commitment, by faith and in prayer, that peace and justice reign now and forever.

Members of the Committee for International Justice and Peace:

Most Reverend David J. Malloy, Chairman, Bishop of Rockford

Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services

Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice

Most Reverend Michael Mulvey, Bishop of Corpus Christi

Most Reverend William F. Murphy, Bishop Emeritus of Rockville Centre

Most Reverend Alberto Rojas, Coadjutor Bishop of San Bernardino

Most Reverend Abdallah Elias Zaidan, Bishop of Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon

Bishop Consultants to the Committee for International Justice and Peace:

Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport

The Committee on International Justice and Peace has produced resources for study, prayer, and action that the faithful may use in observing the August 6th and 9th anniversary, which may be found at: www.usccb.org/nuclear.