Atomic Histories & Nuclear Testing
See below for recent press & media related to Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester’s Pastoral Letter “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament”
“…If we have nuclear weapons, and if we, heaven forbid, got to the point where we use them on each other, it would be catastrophic. And so I want this to be a conversation, not really a historical one about should we have dropped the bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but I want to be a conversation on: Should we work toward nuclear disarmament?”
But the Archbishop of Santa Fe wants the state, and the world, to forge a new way forward. Rev. John C. Wester issued a pastoral letter last month calling for total nuclear disarmament. Wester spoke to KUNM’s Megan Kamerick about how his perspective changed during a visit to cities in Japan where the United States dropped atomic bombs in World War II. This interview is an excerpt of a longer interview that will air on New Mexico in Focus Friday Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
JOHN C. WESTER: It was just so horrific, especially with the children. I mean, the whole thing was difficult. But I read that the children saw the bright light, and they ran to the window to see what the light was, you know, and I can only imagine what happened either then or shortly after with the exposure to the radiation.
“[Nuclear Diarmament] is a human life issue. This is the sanctity of life because nuclear arms, in fact, could wipe out life as we know it. It can wipe out the planet. It’s an issue of poverty. What are we gonna do in New Mexico? We have a huge issue in poverty. We’re spending, the next  years, $1.7 trillion on our nuclear arsenal; that money could go to the poor.”
The Santa Fe Reporter February 2, 2022 sfreporter.com
When John C Wester returned to Santa Fe after visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2017, he noticed a jarring juxtaposition between the atrocities committed by the United States government and the proximity of his work to the birthplace of the nuclear bomb. It opened his eyes to the line that had been crossed. As the Archbishop of the Santa Fe Archdiocese, Wester called for a renewed conversation for nuclear disarmament in a pastoral letter published last month.
January 31, 2022 Where does the Catholic Church stand on nuclear weapons? Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe joins co-host Tom Collina to discuss the Church’s historical advocacy of nuclear disarmament and his new pastoral letter urging the global abolition of such weapons.
On Early Warning, co-host Michelle Dover sits down with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editorial director and publisher for The Nation, who is also involved with the American Committee on US-Russia Accord. She discusses the current topic headlining in the news: elevated tensions in Ukraine.
As the Biden administration reviews U.S. nuclear weapons policy, over 60 advocacy groups, including Veterans for Peace and CodePink, recently issued a joint statement calling for the elimination of hundreds of U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“The notion is if you get rid of those ICBMs, you reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war, and it’s a first step towards more rational nuclear policy,” says William Hartung, research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace – A conversation toward nuclear disarmament
Archbishop John C. Wester’s live press conference to discuss his pastoral letter on the growing need for disarmament.
“We need nuclear arms control, not an escalating nuclear arms race.”
In September 2017, I traveled to Japan and visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was a somber, sobering experience as I realized that on Aug. 6, 1945, humanity crossed the line into the darkness of the nuclear age. Historically, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has been part of a peace initiative, one that would help make sure these weapons would never be used again. I believe it is time to rejuvenate that peace work.
We need to sustain a serious conversation in New Mexico and across the nation about universal, verifiable nuclear disarmament. We can no longer deny or ignore the dangerous predicament we have created for ourselves with a new nuclear arms race, one that is arguably more dangerous than the past Cold War. In the face of increasing threats from Russia, China and elsewhere, I point out that a nuclear arms race is inherently self-perpetuating, a vicious spiral that prompts progressively destabilizing actions and reactions by all parties, including our own country.
Archbishop of Santa Fe in New Mexico: [Nuclear] Armament a “diabolical spiral”
Source (Translated from German): kathpress.at | January 13, 2022
WASHINGTON, 01/13/2022 (KAP) The Catholic Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, John Wester, has issued a strong warning of a new nuclear arms race. “We need nuclear arms control, not an escalating nuclear arms race,” he says in a recent pastoral letter, according to the Catholic News Agency (KNA). Nuclear armament is a “diabolical spiral” that endangers everyone.
Wester’s diocese of New Mexico is particularly hard hit by nuclear armaments. Nuclear weapons are manufactured at Los Alamos and at Sandia National Laboratories. The US government stores nuclear weapons at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.
The head of one of the oldest Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S. says now is the time to rejuvenate a global conversation about the need for nuclear disarmament and avoiding a new nuclear arms race.”
“We can no longer deny or ignore the extremely dangerous predicament of our human family and that we are in a new nuclear arms race far more dangerous than the first,” he said. “We need nuclear arms control, not an escalating nuclear arms race.”
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of one of the oldest Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States says now is the time to rejuvenate and sustain a global conversation about the need for nuclear disarmament and how to develop ways to avoid a new nuclear arms race.
Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester released a lengthy pastoral letter on the subject Tuesday, noting during a virtual news conference that Los Alamos National Laboratory — the birthplace of the atomic bomb — is preparing to ramp up production of the plutonium cores used in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Wester called the arms race a vicious spiral.