Return to Nuclear weapons and deterrence

Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty


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 weapon possession is to be either permitted or outlawed on the basis of heavily racialised and patriarchal notions about the rationality or fortitude of the possessor is a grave fallacy that will get us all killed’.
  • Archbishop Gallagher At The International Day For The Total Elimination Of Nuclear Weapons – OCTOBER 2, 2020. He speaks in the context of the Covid pandemic.
  • Pope Francis at the General Debate of the United Nations – September 26 2020:’One path leads to the consolidation of multilateralism as the expression of a renewed sense of global co-responsibility, a solidarity grounded in justice and the attainment of peace and unity within the human family, which is God’s plan for our world.’
  • Preliminary report produced for us by Carmen Artigas on the International Legal Framework referring to nuclear material and nuclear weapons
  • For those who need to work through the moral issue step by step, Pax Christi member Martin Birdseye’s nuclear morality flowchart will help. So too will ICAN’s Let’s Be Realists.

May: International Women’s Day for Peace & Disarmament. On behalf of Pax Christi members, our Director, Theresa Alessandro and Pax Christi International General Secretary, Greet Vanaerschot, endorsed the appeal by Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), Women Legislators’ Lobby (WiLL) and World Future Council (WFC), supporting the United Nations’ initiatives for peace and disarmament including the global ceasefire initiative and the UN Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament. Read more in Independent Catholic News.


December: ICAN have produced a helpful briefing on the Catholic Church’s support for the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty (TPNW). Find out which countries have signed the TPNW now. Find out which cities have passed a resolution calling on their government to sign the TPNW.  Pax Christi is just beginning work with partners in three cities in England to try and get them to sign up to the ICAN Cities Appeal.

November 23rd-26th: Pope Francis visited Japan, including stops at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Pope Francis took the opportunity to speak up clearly against nuclear weapons in a speech in Hiroshima and again in Nagasaki saying, ‘a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary’.

Pax Christi International’s Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Working Group and the Asia-Pacific Facilitation Group jointly drafted a statement to coincide with this important opportunity to advocate for an end to nuclear weapons. Pax Christi’s National President, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, also released a statement: ‘Here is an opportunity for the leaders of nuclear weapons-possessing countries such as the United Kingdom to demonstrate creative, moral courage.’

July 8th: The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) voted to adopt the Luxembourg Declaration which calls on countries to sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, as well as urging them to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

A new resource  from the Network of Christian Peace Organisations – timely as the US and Russia withdraw from the INF Treaty.  All the more important that we work to get our Government to the table to support the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.


3Catholic Church_Nuclear Weapons Ban VF ed

The Catholic Church and the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty  a  leaflet for  sharing with others

Churches must back ban on nuclear weapons
The Universe, 2 March 2018

Bishop Stephen Cottrell Speaks in the House of Lords on Nuclear Weapon Ban. 20 February 2018


Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty – Ratification begins! September 2017

On practicality of legislating for morality: Reflection by Pax Christi member Martin Birdseye  28 September  2017 

Speech from Archbishop Paul Gallagher  to the UN calling for nuclear disarmament.  26 September  2017

Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty is ratified by the Holy See 20 September 2017 

Letter in The Guardian signed by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon  (President of Pax Christi) and others  20 September 2017

June 2017


Something is happening now that has never happened before.  A “Convention for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” is ready for negotiation at the United Nations. The text is a foundation for building a strong global ban on nuclear weapons.  Much has still to be agreed, but the draft treaty brings widely supported provisions from the opening round of negotiations in March to the final round of negotiations, 15 June-7 July 2017.  NOW is the time  for churches and  peace and justice organisations  to call public and government attention to a historic step.

Members of this network come from countries for and against the treaty.  One group is the large majority without nuclear weapons who are negotiating the new law.  The other is the minority with nuclear weapons and allied states, including the UK,  who oppose the treaty conference and are boycotting the talks.

The negotiations are tackling a critical international obligation.  An appropriate message now is:

  • highlight the worldwide public stake in a successful treaty
  • affirm the good-faith negotiations among engaged governments and civil society
  • call for due respect from your government* and look forward to it joining this essential step towards eliminating nuclear weapons.Letters to Church leaders and local and national press need to be related to current news in most cases. The Treaty negotiations relate to various current news items.  The letter can mention one or more:
    • North Korea’s nuclear activities;
    • US, Japan, China, S. Korea reactions to North Korea including the US aircraft carrier battle group;
    • US-Russia, NATO-Russia and US-China military tensions;
    • UK  with massive spending for nuclear weapons; expensive modernisation programs in all nine countries with nuclear arsenals;
    • the stark contrast between such spending and the resources to address climate change, refugees, migrants, sustainable development, and more.

May 2017

Pax Christi British section welcome the presentation today of a draft text for a treaty that will prohibit nuclear weapons. (22 May 2017).  Here you can read statement from Pax Christi International

The draft was presented President of the negotiations, Ambassador Elayne Whyte of Costa Rica at the UN in Geneva.  A copy of the draft can be found here.  Pax Christi sections around the world have supported the first round of negotiations which began in March at the UN in New York urging their Governments to participate in this world-changing opportunity.  Tragically the British Government was not even at the table and it is unlikely that they will be there when talks resume to review the draft treaty in June.

Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi said: “This is one of the most important opportunities of our time. We need to change the narrative about security in this country.  I am not want to hear that strong political leadership demands a person who would be willing to destroy God’s creation by unleashing nuclear war on the planet – a war in which there would only be losers.  Good political leadership requires a person who seeks the common good – for all, not just our own nation.  Good political leadership sees security in terms of dialogue and cooperation with others – the more than 158 countries who are working for a nuclear ban treaty.  A key question to all election candidates should be: would your party be willing to support  and participate in negotiations for a nuclear weapon ban treaty.?

  • Read message sent by Pope Francis to the opening meeting in March.
  • Four calls to Governments: from Pax Christi International
2017 NCPO Nuclear Ban briefing VF ed

March 2017

With Pax Christi International we are supporting the work  to introduce a ban on nuclear weapons, drawing on the work of PAX Netherlands and ICAN UK

  • Statement from Pax Christi international on Nuclear Ban Negotiations (March 2017)
  • New briefing on Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty  produced by the Network of Christian Peace Organisations and Pax Christi (February 2017)
  • Here you can find out which Parliamentarians have already signed up to support a ban.  If your MP is NOT on the list, please make contact and urge that they come on board.  Everything you need to send your message is provided on the page.

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