Catholic Bishops and organisations have voiced their opposition to the arms trade, as the UK prepares to host one of the world’s largest arms fairs next week.
The DSEI arms fair takes place in London 14-17 September, bringing together governments and military delegations from across the world with more than 1,500 companies selling guns, bombs, and other weaponry.
The bishops take up the call of Pope Francis to end the arms trade. Commenting on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway said:
“Tragically, conflicts fuelled by the trade harm the world’s poorest communities, they force people to flee their homes as refugees, and they have devastating consequences for our environment. We urge governments across the world, including our own, to commit themselves to ending the global arms trade and instead pursue the path of peace and reconciliation.”
As the UK again prepares to host one of the world’s largest arms fairs, we recall the message of Pope Francis: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”
We recognise the right of every country to defend itself against attack, but we must never ignore, or allow ourselves to become complicit in, the destruction of human life and violations of human dignity made possible by the sale of weaponry. The conflicts fueled by this trade harm the poorest communities, force people to flee their homes as refugees, and have devastating consequences for our environment.
We stand alongside all those people of goodwill who are peacefully campaigning against the arms trade and join in prayer with the Holy Father that our leaders may commit themselves to ending it, in pursuit of peace and care for our whole human family.
Bishop William Nolan, President - Justice and Peace Scotland
Bishop Declan Lang, Chair – Department of International Affairs, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop William Kenney, lead bishop for peace and disarmament issues, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop Paul McAleenan, lead bishop for migrants and refugees, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Ann Farr, Chair, Pax Christi England and Wales
Marian Pallister, Chair, Pax Christi Scotland
Christine Allen, Director, CAFOD
Alistair Dutton, Director, SCIAF
Paul Southgate, Chair, National Justice and Peace Network