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Catholic hopes for Pope Francis to take nuclear disarmament message to USA Congress

Pope & St FrancisGroup hopes Francis will take issue of eliminating nuclear weapons to Congress, National Catholic Reporter, Thomas C. Fox  |  Aug. 28, 2015  Ira Helfand hopes Pope Francis will call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons when he addresses Congress in September and Helfand has reason for cautious optimism.

The Springfield, Mass., physician is co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. It was awarded a Nobel Peace prize in 1985 “for spreading authoritative information and raising awareness of the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war.”

Helfand has worked for years to raise consciousness regarding the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear war. In this context, he and John Pastore, a Boston cardiologist, sat down with Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley in June to share details of recent studies that show even a limited nuclear exchange would lead to the starvation of some 2 billion people. By far, the greatest impact of such a nuclear exchange would be on the poorest people of the planet.

Helfand and Pastore said that O’Malley, taken by the findings, said he would pass the information on to Francis whom he was to meet in Rome three days later.

Pastore, a Catholic who has focused on eliminating nuclear weapons his entire adult life, explained: “We are trying to re-introduce moral considerations into the nuclear weapons discussions. They’re almost always viewed strictly as military or technical challenges. But nuclear weapons have enormous moral dimensions. We know this and so does Pope Francis.”

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Pastore acknowledges that Francis has made economic disparities and climate change as his top social justice concerns. “Nuclear weapons have to do with both,” he said. While the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a non-partisan federation of national medical groups in 63 countries, has attempted to draw attention to the humanitarian impacts of nuclear war, it was in 2012 and 2013 that new climate studies showed that even a limited nuclear exchange, such as one involving 100 relatively small devices between India and Pakistan, would have enormous climate change consequences. Helfand took the conclusions of these studies and put together a report his group has spread across the globe. It is called “Nuclear Famine.”……..

In January, addressing the Vatican diplomatic corps, Francis said nuclear disarmament and combatting climate change are at the top of his diplomatic agenda. He has prayed the Iran nuclear weapons agreement would be “a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”…… [Thomas C. Fox is NCR publisher and can be reached at tfox@ncronline.org.] http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/group-hopes-francis-will-take-issue-eliminating-nuclear-weapons-congress

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August 29, 2015 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics, USA

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