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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope says world has reached moral limit on nuclear deterrence

The Cold War policy of nuclear deterrence appears morally unacceptable today, Pope Francis said.

St John Paul II, in a 1982 message to the UN General Assembly, said deterrence “may still be judged morally acceptable” as a stage in the process of ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

But Pope Francis, in a message in early November to a Vatican conference, said “the very possession” of nuclear weapons “is to be firmly condemned.”

During a news conference on Saturday 2nd December on his flight back to Rome from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Pope Francis was asked what had changed since St John Paul wrote to the United Nations and whether the war of words between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un influenced his position.

“What has changed?” the pope responded. “The irrationality has changed.”

Pope Francis said his position is open to debate, but “I’m convinced that we are at the limit of licitly having and using nuclear weapons.”

Picture: Pope Francis pauses as he answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Rome on Saturday 2nd December. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).