Testimony to the New York City Council Hearing on Resolution 0976 – 2019 and INT 1621 – 2019,
January 28, 2019.

Dear Esteemed NY City Council,

One of the roles given to a pastor is to care for his people – to ‘smell like the sheep’ as Pope Francis has said. When Pope Francis recently visited Japan, November 24th, 2019, he went as a pastor to show his care for the Catholic population there and for all people of good will.

It is especially significant that Pope Francis specifically focussed his journey on both Nagasaki and Hiroshima. At Nagasaki, he delivered a clear message calling for nuclear weapon abolition, and at Hiroshima he stressed the same and the need for peace in our world among nations.

We stand in solidarity with our Holy Father’s visit to these monuments of human destruction. The core Catholic teachings clearly lead us to the conclusion that the very possession of these devices is to be firmly condemned.

At a Vatican symposium in November 2017, that called for nuclear disarmament, Pope Francis said “[Nuclear weapons exist] in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict, but the entire human race. International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms.

Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity.”

Our prayers and those of the entire Body of Christ accompany the Holy Father on this journey of peace.

We support and applaud the NY City Councils urgent attempts to eliminate this threat to God’s creation. May the Prince of Peace guide Pope Francis and all in our desire for a war-free world.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, D.Ss.R.,
Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark Newark, New Jersey