Return to Security & Disarmament

Nuclear weapons and deterrence

US Peace Pilgrimage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

US Archbishops John Wester and Paul Etienne are in the middle of a Pilgrimage of Peace in Japan expressing sorrow for the devastating experience of the atomic bombings in 1945 and with the aim of working with the Bishops of Japan towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.

You can follow their progress and join in their Novena here

The G7 Summit in Hiroshima – An opportunity to make significant progress on the abolition of nuclear weapons

In the lead up to this weekend’s G7 Summit in Japan, our Chair Ann Farr and our Chief Executive, Andrew Jackson, joined others from Pax Christi sections in signing a letter from Pax Christi International to Japan’s, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The letter commended Prime Minister Kishida on choosing Hiroshima as the venue for the summit and encouraged him in his aim of using the summit to urge the G7 leaders to address the continuing threat to the world posed by nuclear weapons.

The letter points out that the G7 summit is a strategic opportunity for leaders to build on previous declarations, particularly those made at the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in August 2022, and reminds them of Pope Francis’ declaration in Hiroshima in 2019 that it is not just the use of nuclear weapons that would be immoral but their possession.

Prime Minister Kishida is asked to ensure that the leaders:

  • Meet with survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima;
  • Resolve to adopt collective, verifiable steps to reduce nuclear arsenals;
  • Co-operate with states-parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in providing victim assistance and environmental remediation for people harmed by nuclear weapons;
  • Undertake to set and pursue a common deadline for the elimination of all nuclear arsenals.

You can read a copy of the letter here. Copies have been sent to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and James Cleverly and Ben Wallace as Foreign and Defence Secretaries respectively. We have urged the Prime Minister to engage meaningfully in the planned visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and in all talks on nuclear disarmament.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons have also issued four demands for the summit which you can read here: ICAN G7 Demands

Recent comments from Pope Francis on Nuclear Weapons

Pope Francis has been a strong advocate for the abolition of Nuclear Weapons, condemning their use and even possession as immoral and lamenting the massive waste of the world’s wealth in their maintenance and development. Here are some of his recent statements:

19 May 2023 on the occasion of the G7 Meeting in Hiroshima, Pope Francis recalls his 2019 visit to Hiroshima and asserts that ‘it has become increasingly evident that in the multipolar world of the twenty-first century, the pursuit of peace is closely related to the need for [integral] security’ Pope Francis: Letter to the Bishop of Hiroshima on the Occasion of the G7 Summit, 9 May 2023

21 June 2022 In this message, Pope Francis renews his appeal to ‘silence all weapons and eliminate the causes of conflicts through tireless recourse to negotiations‘. Pope Francis: Message to Ambassador Alexander Kmentt, President of the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, 21 June 2022

24 November 2019 Pax Christi welcomes Pope Francis’ condemnation of nuclear weapons as ‘a crime not only against the dignity of human beings but against any possible future for our common home’. Address of the Holy Father at the Peace Memorial (Hiroshima) 24 November, 2019

Anniversary: Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons 

Letter to Foreign Secretary

January 22nd marked two years since the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force, and with 62 states having joined. Pax Christi handed in a letter to the  Foreign Secretary along with friends from other Christian Peace organisations calling for meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament.

Interview on TPNW with Leader of Pax Christi International’s UN Team (Jan 23)

Mary Yelenick at UN

Mary Yelenick, the leader of Pax Christi International’s UN team in New-York, discusses the importance of the treaty, and how it connects to nonviolence and what each one of us can do.

Listen to this podcast, in which Mary Yelenick, speaks of the importance of the Treaty on the

On this page you can find Reports on what Pax Christi  is doing, General Resources, Church Statements & Documents

Resources to help make the case against Trident renewal and nuclear deterrence.

ICAN issued Let’s Be Realistic, a booklet answering common questions/beliefs about nuclear deterrence and nuclear weapons. The booklet might help you work through conversations with people and is good for sharing too.

May 27th 2020 : Launch of a report produced by Pax Christi as part of an interfaith working group: Banks, Pensions & Nuclear Weapons: Investing In Change. Data presented assists people to challenge their bank or pension provider on investment that supports nuclear weapons manufacture.

March 2017: Pax Christi welcomes Pope Francis support for the UN Negotiations for a Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

Pope Francis: Message to the UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, 27-31 March 2017 

Articles questioning spending on British nuclear weapons in the light of the challenges of coronavirus:

Article written by Pax Christi Director Theresa Alessandro in The Universe Imagine a world without nuclear weapons: it isn’t hard to do..

2016 NCPO Trident briefing

Trident Briefing produced by Network of Christian Peace Organisations.  For use in preparation  for the Lobby of Parliament in July 2016 , for letter-writing and meetings.  Paper copies available from Pax Christi .  

Nuclear weapons companies and money,  report on West MIdlands Pension Fund investments from Pax Christi member Paul McGowan.  See below, Don’t Bank on the Bomb. February 2016

  • Don’t Bank on the Bomb: A global report on the finance  of nuclear weapons producers.   The report identifies 382 banks, insurance companies and pension funds which have made USD 493 billion available to nuclear weapons producers since January 2012. Produced by PAX Netherlands and ICAN.  November 2015
  • Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, statement on decommissioning of nuclear weapons.  November 2006 
  • Resource leaflet Catholic Church and Nuclear Weapons. For use at meetings/handing out at events (Revised, January 2015)


  • Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons on 9 December 2014, Vienna

600 people gathered for the ICAN Civil Forum at this Conference.   Pax Christi International took part as did UK member Martin Birdseye.  Read Martin’s blog .  Here is a report of the Forum meeting

  • Resource for Religious Leaders and Communities on Nuclear Disarmament (November 2013)

A new nuclear abolition resource was launched last week in Vienna by Religions for Peace at its assembly of 600 religious leaders. Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity, say religious leaders and believers must act to bridge the political divides that fuel the nuclear arms race.

Church Statements  & Documents

  • H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Statement to NPT  meeting, April 2015

The very possession of nuclear weapons will continue to come at an enormous financial cost. The expenditures, current and projected, represent resources that could, and indeed should, be put toward the development of societies and people. Pope Francis put it strongly in his message to the President of the Vienna Conference on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons: “Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations. To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price.”

  •  H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations speaking at a  Conference at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs linked with  the Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference, New York.  May 2015

I would like to develop my reflection on the topic under three sub-themes:First, the Popes and the constant call for the abolition of nuclear weapons; Second, Pope Francis and the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons; and Third, Some Elements of the Holy See’s call for nuclear disarmament….

  • Pope Francis  message to the Vienna Conference on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, December 2014

” Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually  assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states.  The youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more…Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations.  To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty.


Permanent link to this article:

Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

2020 October: We expect the 50th ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons soon. Some documents to help you feel informed: Another excellent briefing from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Pax Christi briefing: Nuclear Weapons and the Catholic Church Great piece from Ray Acheson at WILPF: ‘The idea that …