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May 12, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters endorses the following statement by scientists and Catholic leaders, encouraging President Joseph Biden to work toward a world that is free of the nuclear threat. The statement is in alignment with the Corporate Stance, adopted by the Sisters in 2007, calling on the U.S. government “lead the way for the global abolition of nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction by adopting a plan to lock down, reduce, and eliminate nuclear and all weapons of mass destruction.”
We are scientists committed to protecting health and safety, and Catholic leaders committed to the common good of all people. We are united in calling on President Biden to reduce the nuclear threat as our nation works with others for a world without nuclear weapons.
Scientific research has provided ample evidence of the devastating humanitarian and ecological consequences of the production and use of nuclear weapons. Testing and production has killed or impaired the health of many thousands. One nuclear bomb dropped on a major city could kill millions; a nuclear war could bring on a nuclear winter and kill billions. Spending on nuclear weapons diverts scarce resources from programs that improve human health and security.
Catholic social thought, whose principles find resonances in other religious traditions, forbids the use of weapons of mass destruction that would cause indiscriminate harm to civilians and damage disproportionate to any legitimate objective. The Catholic tradition has condemned the nuclear arms race as a theft from the poor. The arms race robs humanity of the resources it needs to address basic human needs and aggravates the underlying causes of war.
The year following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Albert Einstein warned: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” During his 2019 visit to Nagasaki, Pope Francis declared, “…[A] world without nuclear weapons is possible and
necessary…. We need to ponder the catastrophic impact of their deployment, especially from a humanitarian and environmental standpoint….”
Together we affirm President Biden’s extension of the New START Treaty with Russia as a solid first step. We pledge our support for additional steps to reform U.S. nuclear weapons policy, reduce nuclear dangers, and reaffirm a U.S. commitment to pursue a world free of the nuclear threat. We urge the Administration to:
declare that the United States will never use nuclear weapons first;
work with Russia and then with other nations to verifiably reduce nuclear arsenals;
redirect spending from new nuclear weapons and modernization programs toward other pressing needs that build human security;
affirm the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as complementary to existing agreements, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;
work for a successful conclusion at the Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, with nuclear states honoring their disarmament obligations;
aim to ratify and bring into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty;
promote a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty to prohibit production of weapons-grade materials;
strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor compliance with disarmament obligations; and
extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, set to expire in 2022.
We will urge bipartisan support of an ambitious nuclear disarmament agenda. In his second inaugural address, President Reagan supported “the elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.” In his Prague speech, President Obama “state[ed] clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” We call on President Biden to reaffirm the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and to take concrete steps to realize it.
Dr. Pierce S. Corden, Former Official, Arms Control Agency* and State Department*; Expert Adviser at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN*
Marie Dennis, Senior Advisor, Co-President (2007-2019), Pax Christi International
Tara Drozdenko, Ph.D., Acting Executive Director, Outrider Foundation
Elise D. García, OP, President, Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Laura Grego, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Co-Director, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists*
Susan Gunn, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Dr. Gregory Hall, Associate Professor, Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce*
Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, Associate Professor, The Catholic University of America*; Board Member, Arms Control Association*, Catholic Peacebuilding Network*
Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy, Bishop of San Diego
Yuki Miyamoto, Ph.D., Associate Professor, DePaul University*
Most Reverend John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington, Bishop President, Pax Christi USA
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark
Aditi Verma, Ph.D., Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School*
Frank von Hippel, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Program on Science & Global Security, Princeton University*, former White House official*
* Organizational affiliation for identification purposes only.
Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ General Council are Sisters Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor; and Elise D. García, OP, General Councilor.
May 7, 2021, Adrian, Michigan – In anticipation of the National John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Action Day on Saturday, May 8, 2021, we Adrian Dominican Sisters endorse the joint statement issued by the National Black Sisters’ Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on the critical importance of ensuring that all people – no matter race, zip code, economic status – enjoy the sacred right to vote.
As women of faith and faithful Americans, we believe that all people have the right and obligation to participate fully in our democracy. The National Black Sisters Conference (NBSC) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) strongly oppose all attempts to restrict that participation by limiting the sacred right to vote. The strength and vibrancy of our democracy is dependent on the right of all people to vote regardless of their race, zip code, economic status, or party affiliation.
Our country has a long racist history when it comes to voting. From the end of the 19th Century to 1965, “Jim Crow Laws” systematically kept blacks from the ballot box. Violence, rigged literacy tests, property tests, grandfather clauses and more were used to deny people of color access to democracy’s most fundamental right, the right to cast their ballot. That right is under attack once again.
Our brothers and sisters struggled, some gave their lives, to secure the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It falls to us to continue their work. Pope Francis reminds us in Evangelii Gaudium that our vocation as Catholic sisters is inherently political: “We are all called to participate in public life…. Authentic faith always involves a deep desire to change the world…. We cannot remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.”
We must call out elected officials, at every level, who continue to introduce measures that would return us to the era of “Jim Crow.” They are celebrating our dark past by enacting laws that limit participation and threaten our democracy. We pledge to oppose them at every turn, and we promise to support legislation that will ensure all people can exercise their precious right to vote.
It is long past time we established national standards for voting to ensure all of us have a voice in decisions that affect our lives and protect our common home. We call on the Senate to immediately take up the For the People Act and we call on members of both the house and Senate to introduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
National Black Sisters Conference
Sister Anita Baird, DHM
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM — Director of Communications