At a ceremony in Hiroshima this morning the Mayor of Hiroshima, Mr Kazumi Matsui, described the hellish scene of the blast that morning 73 years ago. Recounting the agony of the victims, he told the audience to listen “as if you and your loved ones were there.”
Sadly the possession of nuclear weapons still has some status value in international relations. Their elimination needs a movement of people across the globe to make clear that the threat of use of nuclear weapons can no longer be permitted in civilised society.
One month ago, the General Synod the Church of England made a further contribution towards such a movement. It agreed that the Synod “welcome the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and the clear signal it sends by a majority of UN Member States that nuclear weapons are both dangerous and unnecessary”.
The resolution goes on to challenge the UK Government’s unequivocal opposition to the TPNW but it stops short of calling on the UK to sign the treaty now. Next week I will write on this blog to explain why this is ground-breaking for the Church of England.
At the General Synod, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford pointed out that there was some urgency for the debate as the Church of England has of late been seriously out of kilter with its ecumenical partners. The Church of England now joins the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church in supporting the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We affirm together that there are no circumstances in which nuclear weapons could ever be used in compliance with international law and we commit ourselves to continue to work for their elimination.
Church of England, Mission and Public Affairs Report “The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons” July 2018
Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church #NuclearBan video