News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
- A LOOK BACK AT OUR COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE
On 6 August Liverpool marked 75 years since two atomic bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was a gathering in St John’s Gardens attended by the Lord Mayor, Anna Rothery, and peace groups including members of Pax Christi. During the service a wreath was laid to remember all victims of the bombing.
By the end of 1945 it was estimated that 250,000 civilians had lost their lives through the bombing and radiation poisoning. The service included music, reflection, prayer and statements from Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has condemned the use and possession of nuclear weapons. In 2019 he visited Nagasaki and called on all countries to support action for nuclear disarmament and non -proliferation, by using international legal instruments such as the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Vatican was among the first states to ratify this treaty, which is also supported by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon. Following the Pope’s visit to Nagasaki he wrote:
‘Here is an opportunity for the leaders of nuclear weapons possessing countries, such as the UK, to demonstrate creative moral courage. We call on our government to sign the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and be part of a future built on just international relationships and the common good of all humanity.’
Liverpool Pax Christi have sent a message of support to partners in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 2018 they met with a survivor of Hiroshima who visited Liverpool as part of a world tour organised by the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. The survivors (known as Hibakusha) continue to play a pivotal role in protecting the world from nuclear catastrophe.
Jan Harper of Liverpool Pax Christi said: ‘In commemorating this anniversary, we are called to work for disarmament; this pandemic has made us aware that we are one global family, vulnerable to threats we cannot easily control. There is a real risk of nuclear war by intent or accident. Hiroshima and Nagasaki have given us a warning of the effects of nuclear weapons which threaten the future of the planet.
The money we spend on nuclear weapons should be diverted into healthcare, education and housing, and saving the earth. We have asked our MPs to lobby the government to sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty (TPNW) which needs 50 countries to ratify it, but the UK is one of the nine most powerful nuclear weapons states which have refused to sign, or play any part, in the discussions of the treaty.’
Members of Pax Christi are also campaigning for local authorities in Merseyside to support the treaty by joining ‘Cities of Peace ‘across the world, such as Manchester, Norwich, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Washington DC, Paris and Geneva. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon is the President of the British branch of Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace movement which was founded after the second World War.