Today, nuclear weapons are illegal!
Friday, January 22, 2021
Greetings of peace!

Today, nuclear weapons are illegal. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) enters into force today following the earlier ratification of the treaty by 50 states (now 51!). While the U.S. is not a signatory to the treaty, Pax Christi USA celebrates this monumental achievement and pledges to continue our work for nuclear disarmament, dreaming of the day that all nations — including the U.S. — abolish nuclear weapons once and for all.

The entry into force of the TPNW has me fondly remembering two moments from my time in Brussels working at Pax Christi International. The first was the original adoption of the treaty at the UN in July 2017, a goal which had been a major advocacy priority for Pax Christi International during my time there (and long before). It was a thrill to be part of such an extraordinary accomplishment and I felt immensely grateful for the work that Pax Christi International member organizations — including Pax Christi USA — had put into the effort of nuclear disarmament for decades. The second moment was when we heard that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), in which Pax Christi International has been an active member from the beginning, was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2017. The adoption of the TPNW, the validation of the work so many have been doing for generations by the Nobel Peace Prize for ICAN, and now today's entry into force of the treaty making nuclear weapons illegal these are incredible victories that have come through long-time commitment, shrewd strategy, faithful witness, and resolute organizing. I hope you will join me today in celebrating this achievement, even though we have so much more to do, especially here in the United States.

If you missed the statement we posted yesterday on the entry into force of the TPNW, I hope you'll take a few minutes today to read it and share it over social media.
In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Pax Christi USA Executive Director
Co-sponsored by Catholic Committee on Appalachia and Pax Christi USA

The Mass will conclude a mini-retreat that includes:

3pm - Rosary for Disarmament (written by Fr. Steve Kelly, a Kings Bay Plowshares activist still in prison, prepared for Lent 2020.)
3:30pm - Talk by CCA TN Chapter Member, Linda Modica, on the "Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons" which enters into force & becomes law today
4pm - Q&A, reflection
4:30pm - BREAK
6pm - Mass with Bishop John Stowe
> Use this prayer for disarmament prepared by Kim Vanderheiden of Pax Christi Northern California with your family, local group, over Zoom with friends, etc.
from Pax Christi International
Pax Christi USA leadership signed onto the following statement written and circulated to Catholic leaders by Pax Christi International. Signatories from the U.S. include our Bishop-President, Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv, and Bishop Robert McElroy, among others.
We, Catholic church leaders from around the world, welcome the entry into force on 22 January 2021 of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

We are encouraged that a majority of UN Member States actively support the new treaty through adoption, signatures, and ratifications. It is fitting that the Holy See was among the first states to join the accord in 2017. In addition, public opinion surveys worldwide demonstrate the global conviction that nuclear weapons must be abolished. The worst of all weapons of mass destruction has long-since been judged to be immoral. Now it is also finally illegal.

We are concerned by the continued risk to humanity that nuclear weapons could be used and by the resultant catastrophic humanitarian consequences. It is heartening that this new treaty is based on a growing body of research about the catastrophic humanitarian and ecological consequences of nuclear attacks, tests, and accidents. Two examples that speak to all people are the disproportionate impacts of radiation on women and girls and the grave effects on Indigenous communities whose lands have been used for nuclear tests.

We, the undersigned, support the leadership Pope Francis is giving to nuclear disarmament. During his historic visit to the bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in November 2019 the pope condemned both the use and the possession of nuclear weapons by any state. Peace cannot be achieved through “the threat of total annihilation,” he said. Pope Francis urged support for “the principal international legal instruments of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.” Prior to his visit, the Conferences of Catholic Bishops in Canada and Japan urged their governments to sign and ratify the new treaty...

1) In our statement, Pax Christi USA issues a call to the U.S. bishops, priests and deacons, women and men religious, and lay people throughout the U.S. Catholic Church to visibly observe in our dioceses, parishes, universities and schools the ‘entry into force’ of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with public calls for action, the offering of prayers, and legislative advocacy. The month following the entry into force on January 22nd can be used as a time of education and reflection, addressing the treaty and Catholic social teaching on nuclear abolition through sermons and discussion groups, webinars, lesson plans, prayers of the faithful, and more. Check out our special resource page on the TPNW with resources to answer the call. And find social media images to share in recognition of this extraordinary day from Pax Christi International by clicking here. Don't forget to tag us on your posts and tweets with @PaxChristiUSA & @PaxChristi and use the hashtag #nuclearban.

2) Find excellent resources like a letter to the editor template, sample letters/emails to your Members of Congress, a downloadable fact sheet, and more from our friends at OREPA.

3) Form a study group for the new book by Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Art Laffin, The Risk of the Cross: Living Gospel Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age. The book is available for order here.