While in Hiroshima a few months ago, I interviewed five Catholic sisters: three who witnessed the United States' dropping the atomic bomb; one who arrived in the devastated city two days later; and one who came to Hiroshima as a small child six months after the attack. They shared their memories of that day and how it shaped their lives and vocation.
Robert Frost wrote "Fire and Ice" about ways the world might end, but I find myself thinking more in terms of slow and fast: the slow warming of the planet or the speed of nuclear doom. Even a "small" war between India and Pakistan, say a dozen or so hydrogen bombs, would create stratospheric ash, blocking the sun and resulting in worldwide famine and chaos; slower than immolation, but faster than climate change.
GSR Today - Just as the news was breaking that enough U.S. Senators have declared their support for the Iran Nuclear Deal for it to survive a veto override, U. S. women religious were weighing in. A letter, signed by over 4100 of us from more than 30 congregations, was being delivered to Senators and Representatives urging our support for the agreement.
May 8 a divided 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the sabotage convictions of three Plowshares protestors, one of them a nun in her mid-80s, Sr. Megan Rice, and remanded the case to a lower court. The three-judge panel upheld one conviction against the trio on a charge of depredation of property.
I was born in the year that the U.S. dropped the first nuclear bombs. Now the United Nations is reviewing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. What does Christ call me to do in the face of all the suffering that has come in the nuclear age? In the history of civilization, wars have ended, then resources were again used for human need rather than human destruction. Since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the human family has been seduced by idols of weapons. The bombs were not the end of a war, but the beginning of the escalating cycle taking resources from human needs.
GSR Today - People of faith and good will have recognized this fundamental violation of nature and have been engaging in efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons ever since the atomic bombs were dropped. Some have spent years in prison for their actions of nonviolent resistance. Sr. Megan Rice, a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, is incarcerated now.
The month-long Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons opens at the United Nations April 27. Sr. Mary Ann McGivern, a member of the Sisters of Loretto who served on her order's Committee for Peace, joined a delegation with Pax Christi in the days leading to the conference. McGivern told CNS her community has proposed that the U.S. enact a unilateral nuclear weapons ban. "We're saying that no matter what the rest of the world does, it's time for the United States to set aside our nuclear weapons," she explained. While it is unlikely that any proposal for quick action on a ban will find its way into the U.N. conference's final report, McGivern said she hopes the idea will begin to percolate among the delegates.
GSR Today - Images of light flash in my mind. Life-changing, history-changing occurrences. One is destructive, the other revelatory. It’s difficult to juxtapose them; hold them at the same time. Yet, that is what is asked of me, of us, this day, August 6.
Salesian Sr. Jennifer Kane said her days are filled with "a whole lot of prayer and study," along with ministry to children. She is looking forward to serving in one or more of the order's specialty areas of staffing schools, retreat centers and campus ministries. Despite her self-described conversion, Kane said she's "not at all" regretful of her military service. She acknowledged that Catholics have widely varying opinions on war – especially when it involves nuclear weapons – but emphasized that she would never relish the thought of putting such weaponry into action.
Dominican Srs. Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte, members of the Jonah House community in Baltimore since 1995, have spent decades crisscrossing the United States opposing war and acting to bring to life the biblical call to "beat swords into plowshares" in symbolically disarming nuclear weapons and other tools of war. Their actions – as feeble as they might seem – have led to countless years in prison.
Like what you're reading? Sign up for GSR e-newsletters!