Article Details

Statement on Replacement of Trident

Categories: Articles:Nuclear Weapons, Resources:Peacemaking, Resources:Nuclear Weapons | Published: 11/04/2006 | Views: 6006
Statement by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland. 11 April 2006

The Bishops’ Conference has issued a statement on the replacement of Trident Nuclear Weapons.  The full statement is reproduced below.  This statement is worthy of study and we hope that Justice and Peace Groups and parishes will give it serious consideration.  The statement along with the 1982 statement on nuclear weapons is available on the Justice and Peace website.  Please study these and also use these as tools to lobby your MP.  If Trident is replaced it will be done by a decision of the UK parliament. Your MP has a vote in this, so please make sure that she or he knows what you, the Scottish Bishops and Pope Benedict think on this crucial issue of life.


The Bishops of Scotland welcome the Prime Minister’s recent comment that there should be the “fullest possible” public debate on the Trident nuclear missile system. The Catholic Church has clear and consistent teaching on nuclear weapons. The use of weapons of mass destruction would be a crime against God and against humanity it must never happen.

The Church teaches that it is immoral to use weapons of mass destruction in an act of war: “Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation.” (1)

Equally, storing and accumulating such weapons gives rise to strong moral reservations. “The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. “ (2)

In a widely endorsed statement released in 1982 the Bishops of Scotland said;

“We are convinced, however, that if it is immoral to use these weapons it is also immoral to threaten their use. Some argue that the threat can be justified as the lesser of two evils. The crux of the problem is whether in any foreseeable circumstances a policy of self-defence based on the use or even the threat of use of these weapons of terrible destructiveness can ever be morally justified.”

In January of this year, Pope Benedict XVI stated clearly, “In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims”. He called on those countries in possession of nuclear weapons to “strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament.”

In repeating our previous statement, and endorsing the statements from the Pope, we urge the Government of the United Kingdom not to invest in a replacement for the Trident system and to begin the process of decommissioning these weapons with the intention of diverting the sums spent on nuclear weaponry to programs of aid and development.

(1) VATICAN II, Gaudium et Spes 80; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 2314
(2) Catechism of the Catholic Church 2315

Print Bookmark and Share

Return to previous page