Prove, part of a panel discussion, noted that a world free from nuclear weapons is not just possible—but necessary, and he endorsed the comprehensive approach of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a legal means to achieve this goal.
“Nuclear weapons are the most indiscriminately and catastrophically destructive category of weapons ever created by human beings,” Prove said. “They are designed to destroy entire cities, along with everyone and everything in them, and their use poisons the environment for thousands upon thousands of years.”
Prove also noted that the World Council of Churches has also adopted a position of categorical opposition to nuclear weapons since its founding in 1948.
“The WCC has continued to call for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons since that time, through its governing bodies, functional commissions, and member churches,” he said. “While the absolute number of nuclear weapons has declined since its height during the Cold War, it only amounts to a reduction in the number of times that the world’s population centres could be destroyed.”
Meanwhile, he pointed out, new and more powerful weapons continue to be developed. “And now, especially following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, almost all the remaining nuclear arms control guardrails and taboos have been dismantled, and even simple communications between the world’s largest nuclear powers have been reduced to dangerously negligible levels,” Prove said. “History shows how close, on several occasions, the world has come to nuclear conflagration not by design but by accident or simple human or technological error.”
This history demonstrates that there are no safe hands in which such weapons can be entrusted, said Prove. “Moreover, the possession of nuclear weapons by some, and the political power leveraged as a result of possessing such weapons, actually serves to incentivize nuclear proliferation and to increase risks of nuclear war,” he said.
The International Meeting for Peace: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue is being held 10-12 September, organised by the Community of Sant'Egidio.