Quantcast
Connect with us

Pope to Hiroshima on mission against ‘immoral’ nuclear weapons

Published

on

Pope Francis, who years ago hoped to be a missionary in Japan, travels to the sites of the world’s only atomic attacks this week seeking a ban on “immoral” nuclear weapons.

“Your country is well aware of the suffering caused by war,” the Argentine pontiff, 82, said in a video message to the Japanese people on Monday.

“Together with you, I pray that the destructive power of nuclear weapons will never be unleashed again in human history. The use of nuclear weapons is immoral,” said the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pope Francis flies to Asia on Tuesday, where he will first visit Thailand and then Japan, including the two cities destroyed by devastating US nuclear attacks during the Second World War.

Despite both countries having less than 0.6 percent Catholic populations, Francis is thirsty for interreligious dialogue with them.

He will arrive in Thailand on Wednesday before flying on to Japan on Saturday, where he will stay until November 26.

Sunday is set to be a marathon day with visits to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where at least 74,000 people and 140,000 people respectively were killed by the atomic bombs attacks.

– ‘You can’t forget the bomb’ –

ADVERTISEMENT

The August 6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and of Nagasaki three days later contributed to Japan’s surrender and the end of the Second World War on August 15, months after Nazi Germany capitulated.

Father Yoshio Kajiyama, director of the Jesuit social centre in Tokyo, was born in Hiroshima shortly after the war and is eagerly awaiting the pope’s anti-nuclear speech.

“My grandfather died the day of the bomb in Hiroshima, I never knew him. Four days later my aunt died when she was 15 years old,” said the 64-year-old.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If you grow up in Hiroshima, you can’t forget the bomb.”

The pope will make “as vigorous an appeal as possible in favour of concerted measures to completely eliminate nuclear weapons,” Vatican number two Cardinal Pietro Parolin told the United Nations in September.

ADVERTISEMENT

A previous member of Japan’s diplomatic mission to the Vatican, Shigeru Tokuyasu, said he hoped the visit would pull the world back from “the globalisation of indifference” over nuclear weapons.

But, said Tokuyasu, the pope should avoid discussing the politically sensitive issue of nuclear energy.

Francis is also to meet victims of the devastating 2011 earthquake that struck northeastern Japan and the subsequent tsunami that between them killed 18,500 people and sparked the nuclear power catastrophe at Fukushima.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Fear of nuclear war –

Francis is used to railing against countries that make money from weapons and has already voiced his fear of a nuclear war.

In January last year, he printed cards with a photo of a Nagasaki bomb victim, inscribing the words “the fruit of war” above his signature.

The 1945 photo, captured by American photographer Joe O’Donnell, showed a small boy standing ramrod straight carrying his dead younger brother on his back while waiting for his turn at a cremation site.

ADVERTISEMENT

The late pope John Paul II visited Japan in 1981, where at Hiroshima’s peace monument he pointed to war as “the work of man”.

In August, the city of Hiroshima called on Japan to sign the UN treaty calling for a ban on nuclear weapons, something that all the world’s nuclear powers have refused to do.

Japan’s 1967 its pacifist constitution commits to the principle of “not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on its territory,” despite counting on the US nuclear umbrella for protection.

– Multi-ethnic Thailand –

ADVERTISEMENT

Before arriving in Thailand on Wednesday, the pope praised the “multi-ethnic nation” which “has worked to promote harmony and peaceful coexistence, not only among its habitants but throughout Southeast Asia”.

In a video message to the Thai people, the pope said he hoped to “strengthen ties of friendship” with Buddhists.

SinceFrancis’ election six years ago, he has made two trips to Asia, visiting the Philippines and Sri Lanka in 2014, followed by Myanmar and Bangladesh in 2017.

On Thursday in Bangkok, the pontiff is to pay a visit to supreme patriarch Somdej Phra Maha Muneewong at a Buddhist temple.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Federal judge orders the government to recognize birthright citizenship of people from American Samoa

Published

on

On Thursday, a federal judge in Utah ordered the federal government to recognize birthright citizenship to the people of American Samoa — a potentially massive victory for territorial civil rights.

"This court is not imposing 'citizenship by judicial fiat.' The action is required by the mandate of the Fourteenth Amendment as construed and applied by Supreme Court precedent," wrote Judge Clark Waddoups, an appointee of George W. Bush, in his decision.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Watch: Conservative demands LGBTQ people leave Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer alone

Published

on

Right wing extremist Ben Shapiro is demanding LGBTQ people leave Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer alone. Shapiro, who runs the far right website The Daily Wire, says the popular children's Christmas character has enough problems and doesn't need any more.

"Can't you just leave Rudolph alone?" Shapiro asked on his radio show. "Like, he's got enough problems without you putting your own issues with sexual orientation on his fragile flying back."

Shapiro, who is virulently anti-LGBTQ, was reading from Wednesday's New York Times opinion piece, "‘Rudolph,’ the Queerest Holiday Special."

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

UK’s Boris Johnson looks set for decisive election win — clearing path to Brexit

Published

on

Britain's ruling Conservative Party appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Thursday's snap election, an exit poll showed, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU next month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's party was forecast to win 368 out of 650 seats in the lower House of Commons -- a large majority -- according to the survey by the Sky News, ITV and BBC broadcasters published as polls closed at 2200 GMT.

The pound jumped on the projected results from what has been described as the most important election in Britain in a generation.

Continue Reading