Homily and Statement by Archbishop Wester to the Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

On November 29, 2023, the 34th anniversary of the death of Dorothy Day, and in conjunction with the Second Meeting of the State Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester gave a homily on nuclear disarmament at Our Church of the Savior near the United Nations. Dorothy Day was a life-long anti-nuclear weapons activist and is now being considered for canonization by the Catholic Church.

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U.S. Strategic Posture Commission Ratchets Up Nuclear Arms Race

Today, America’s Strategic Posture, The Final Report was released by the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States. In its own words:

“The Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States was established by the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and concludes that America’s defense strategy and strategic posture must change in order to properly defend its vital interests and improve strategic stability with China and Russia. Decisions need to be made now in order for the nation to be prepared to address the threats from these two nuclear-armed adversaries arising during the 2027-2035 timeframe. Moreover, these threats are such that the United States and its Allies and partners must be ready to deter and defeat both adversaries simultaneously.”

The United States has already embarked upon a $2 trillion “modernization” program that is a complete makeover of its nuclear forces. This program will rebuild every warhead in the planned future stockpile while giving them new military capabilities. It will also build new-design nuclear weapons and new missiles, subs and bombers to deliver them, plus new nuclear weapons production plants expected to be operational until the 2080’s.

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Photos from Japan Pilgrimage of Peace

Image Credit: The Archdiocese of Seattle Website (Daily Digests), Leslie M. Radigan & Archdiocese of Santa Fe Official Facebook Page, and Jay Coghlan of NukeWatch New Mexico.

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August 1 - First day of our Pilgrimage of Peace Novena in Japan
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August 2 - At Sophia, a Catholic University in Tokyo, attended by our leader, Hiro, where we toured the campus and met some of his teachers.
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August 2 - AB Wester and AB Etienne met with a reporter for The Asahi Shimbun paper to discuss the vision and purpose of this Pilgrimage of Peace, saying “Pope Francis has changed the moral needle with a seismic shift in the thinking on nuclear. He is saying even having nuclear weapons is immoral. He is laying the challenge before us…We want to start and sustain a thriving conversation on nuclear.” They shared the vision for verifiable multilateral nuclear disarmament as a pathway to peace and explained that many might think they are naive. “But we believe it’s far more naive to continue with what we’re doing now.”
“We are here to see what we can do to advocate for peace and share the gospel,” said AB Etienne. We are here “to invite people to realize that we can have peace by growing relationships with our neighbors and communities. We need to do that as people before we can do so as nations.”
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August 3 - A train ride to Kamakura, a 12th-century city on the coast.
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August 3 - Walking up to the Zen Engaku-ji Temple in Kamakura, founded in 1282 by Mugaku Sogen to honor those killed in wars against Mongolia. The quiet and peacefulness of the temple grounds, meditation rooms, and garden were palpable.
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August 3 - The Zen Engaku-ji Temple, founded in 1282 by Mugaku Sogen to honor those killed in wars against Mongolia. The quiet and peacefulness of the temple grounds, meditation rooms, and garden were palpable.
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August 3 - The Great Buddha of Kamakura. The national treasure began in 1252 and was completed approximately 10 years later.
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August 3 - Kamakura Daibutsu (The Great Buddha of Kamakura). The national treasure began in 1252 and was completed approximately 10 years later.
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August 3 - In Kamakura, a 12th-century city on the coast of Japan, visiting the Sisters of the Visitation.
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August 4 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial with Genbaku Dome in Background
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August 4 - New Mexico and Seattle Pilgrims of Peace at Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial
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August 4 - Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial
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August 4 - Genbaku Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial
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August 6 - The Hiroshima Peace Park sign.
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August 6 - In Hiroshima, Japan
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August 6 - Hiroshima, Japan: Amidst this solemn atmosphere, the day elicited a mix of grief, reverence, and a call for peace, underscoring the importance of nuclear disarmament and the lasting effects of human conflict.
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August 7 - Nagasaki, Japan: Upon arrival, we met with the Mayor of Nagasaki, Mr. Shiro Suzuki, at City Hall. Our goal was to share our mission and express our interest in working collaboratively with the city and Japan's Catholic bishops. He shares our goals and is committed to working to abolish nuclear weapons. Archbishop Wester presented Mayor Suzuki with an Executive Order from the City of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller commemorating August 9, 2023, "In Honor of The Japanese Innocent Lives Lost."
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August 7 - Nagasaki, Japan: Photo from event, "Interfaith Dialogue and Exchange of Religious Leaders with a Common Desire for World Peace"
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August 7 - Nagasaki, Japan: Urikami Cathedral for Mass
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August 8 - Nagasaki, Japan: the Atomic Bomb Museum.
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August 8 - Nagasaki, Japan: the Atomic Bomb Museum.
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August 9 - Our Lady of Nagasaki, a wooden head of the Virgin Mary that survived the bombing. Her burnt face is both miraculous and haunting as she reminds us of the devastation and pain of that horrific day.
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August 9 - The Madonna of Nagasaki - burnt 78 years ago by the plutonium bomb.
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August 9 - The Madonna of Nagasaki - burnt 78 years ago by the plutonium bomb.
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77th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki, Japan – Interfaith Discussion

SAVE THE DATE: 77th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki, Japan

Interfaith Discussion

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 


5:15 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Followed by Panel Discussion with Interfaith Leaders at 6:15 p.m.


ALBUQUERQUE – Friday, July 1, 2022 – Join Most Rev. John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, for 5:15 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, NM. His homily will be centered on his pastoral letter on nuclear disarmament, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament,” released on January 11, 2022. Following Mass, at approximately 6:15 p.m., a panel discussion with prominent interfaith leaders on today’s need for nuclear disarmament will be held with a question and answer session. All are welcomed to either event.

In his pastoral letter, Archbishop Wester reflects upon his trip to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the history of Catholic social teaching on nuclear weapons, the history of the development and production of nuclear weapons in New Mexico, and Jesus’ example of nonviolence. He encourages all to read the pastoral letter and use the reflection questions and suggestions for action.

Archbishop’s pastoral letter can be found here.

For more information, contact the Office of Social Justice & Respect Life (505) 831-8205.

President Biden Should Let His Faith Guide Him Toward Nuclear Disarmament

Did you see what the Santa Fe Archbishop wrote in the very heart of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex?

With this pending Nuclear Posture Review, President Biden has the opportunity to show his moral leadership. I know he is capable. After all, much of what is needed is only to turn his own past words into new policy—and to reject today’s fearful status quo, embracing a new path that we can all live with.

Read the entire article here and see the picture.

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