This weekend, in solidarity with Pope Francis’ historic journey to Japan where he is expected to speak in Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the abolition of nuclear weapons, three NYC vigils will take place in conjunction with his Nov. 23 – 26 trip. The Japanese Consulate vigil took place on Friday. Attorney Mari Inoue of the Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World, and two of the Kings Bay Plowshares, Martha Hennessy and Carmen Trotta, met with diplomats at the Japanese Consulate to encourage Japan to turn away from reliance on the US nuclear umbrella. Elders of the Japanese people, the Hibakusha, still suffer from trauma, radiation sickness, cancers, and other horrific effects of the August 6 and 9, 1945 US nuclear attack.
Two vigils are planned at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday from 3-6 pm and Sunday, 8:45 am-12 noon. On Sunday, the Pope will give a public address at the ground-zero site of the U.S. nuclear attack on Nagasaki.
The vigils are being organized in NYC partly by Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7) defendants, awaiting sentencing in January, facing up to 20 years for their faith-based nonviolent and symbolic disarming of Trident submarine’s nuclear weapons in GA. Patrick O’Neill, KBP7 defendant has stated that “Trident’s fleet of 14 submarines’ nuclear weapons has the capacity to kill 14 billion people, while there are only 7 billion people on the planet”. The KBP7 applaud Pope Francis’ declarations against nuclear weapons.
Quoting the Pope in their action statement, the KBP7 stated, “We seek to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons, racism, and economic exploitation. We plead to our Church to withdraw its complicity in violence and war. We cannot simultaneously pray and hope for peace while we bless weapons and condone war-making. Pope Francis says the abolition of weapons of mass destruction is the only way to save God’s creation from destruction. Clarifying the teachings of our Church, Pope Francis said, “The threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned, weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by ethics of solidarity.”
Kings Bay Plowshares 7 defendant and co-organizer of the vigils, Carmen Trotta, has served the poor at the St. Joseph Catholic Worker house in the Lower East Side in Manhattan for the last 30 years. He shared his gratitude to Pope Francis who is the first Pope declaring the need for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. Carmen will be joined among others, by the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day’s granddaughter, Martha Hennessy, also serving at the NYC Catholic Worker house, and Ithaca Catholic Worker, Clare Grady, both KBP7 defendants.
Sam Husseini writes in his Nov. 22nd Counter Punch article, “In her testimony, Plowshares defendant Clare Grady … tried to explain to the jury the motivation and urgency of the group: US government is using nuclear weapons daily as a gun pointed at the head of the planet.” (Interviews Available)
A documentarian, Anthony Donovan, vigil co-organizer, (Good Thinking, Those Who Tried to Halt Nuclear Weapons) working with Nobel Prize winner, ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), referenced the Pope’s statement, “the Holy See acknowledges the increasing number of nations who have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Vatican also calls for sincere, honest and effective dialogue, to build the trust needed to ratify this instrument.”
The Pope and Catholic Radicals Come Together Against Nuclear Weapons, the New Yorker Opinion Piece, by Paul Elie, Nov. 19, 2019
Can the Religious Left Take Down Nuclear Weapons? CounterPunch, by Sam Husseini, Nov. 22, 2019
Pope Francis Takes Nuclear-Ban Mission to Japan. Pontiff expected to pursue disarmament and interreligious dialogue on visit to Asia. WSJ By
Francis X. Rocca in Vatican City and
Alastair Gale in Tokyo,
Nov. 20, 2019
Sponsors: NYC Catholic Worker, Kings Bay Plowshares 7, Pax Christi Metro NY, Veterans for Peace NYC, Granny Peace Brigade, Stand with Okinawa, The Ribbon International, and Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World.
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