Thursday, September 2, 2010

Do we need more nukes?

If you don't already read the Catholic Key blog--you should. Jack Smith does an amazing job.

Today, he highlights Kansas City – St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn's statement on the groundbreaking of a nuclear weapons plant in the area. Excerpt:

On September 8, 2010 ground will be broken to begin construction of a new facility for the production of non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons in South Kansas City. In the Catholic Church September 8th is the feast of the Birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The confluence of the groundbreaking with the feast of Mary’s nativity provides the opportunity to pause at the irony of the situation: Mary, mother of the Prince of Peace, and the construction of a facility whose main purpose is the construction of weapons for warfare.

The Catholic tradition has always affirmed the right of a state to defend itself from unjust aggression. Implicit in that right is the need to equip a trained military force. We do not deny this obligation and necessity on the part of any state.

However, the accumulation of weapons of mass destruction – which this nuclear plant proposes to construct – constitutes a grave moral danger. Nuclear weapons are by their very nature weapons of mass destruction: their force and impact cannot be contained, and their use affects combatants and non-combatants alike. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons – especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons – to use them” (CCC #2314; cf. also Gaudium et Spes #80). Since the use of such weapons is morally questionable, it follows that the production of such weapons is also morally questionable.

Read the whole thing here.

Do we really need, at this point in history, to build more and more nuclear weapons? Is this something Catholics should generally oppose? What do you think?


UPDATE: Mark Shea weighs in here.

2 comments:

  1. It seems to me that all nuclear weapons are not weapons of mass destruction as the bishop claims in the article. It would depend on what type of nuclear weapons they are. If it is proven that the plant is making the type that are made for mass destruction, those that are not controlled and do not offer any isolation between military targets and civilian, then he would be correct in opposing the plant. If they are tactical in nature, then from what I have read in moral theology books, they would not be immoral to make or possess. If they are making nuclear weapons of a tactical nature, which can be controlled and directed primarily at military targets, they can be used in accordance with the law of double effect, and therefore are not immoral to produce or use. In other words, their nuclear nature does not make them intrinsically evil. It depends on the size of the payload, and whether or not its use falls into accordance with the laws of double effect.

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