AN ENGLISH Catholic bishop has declared his support for unilateral disarmament and an end to British involvement in the international arms trade.
Bishop Howard Tripp, Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark, stated his views at a recent study day on the "ChristianaandDisaim ament" sponsored by the diocese's South West Area Justice and Peace group.
"1 personally have come to think that we must seek unilateral nuclear disarmament" said Bishop Tripp. "There are virtually no circumstances in which we would be justified in using nuclear weapons and it seems to me that we should make the bold decision to abandon this form of defence as a matter of good example to the whole world and as a challenge to all thinking people, putting our ultimate trust not in atoms but in God."
Bishop Tripp said that Christians should not be too influenced by the economic arguments in favour of the arms trade. They should make clear their preparedness to accept poverty, rather than riches based on international weapons sales.
The bishop said he believed the Falklands war had met many, though not all, the criteria for a just war. But a new theory was needed.
• The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament decided this week to go ahead with its plans for Hard Luck, a rival exercise to the Government's civil defence exercise Hard Rock, which has now been postponed because 20 of the country's 54 county councils refused to take part.
CND is looking to voluntary organisations and individuals as well as county and local councils to support its venture, which will take place from September 19 to October 5.
The Catholic peace organisation Pax Christi is suggesting that their members find out the reactions of parish churches in the case of a nuclear attack. It is also suggesting that members amass tinned food as suggested in the Home Office pamphlet on civil defence "Protect and Survive" and deploy it and themselves in a public place. "This would illustrate the absurdity of the whole thing" said Mr Mark James of Pax Christi this week.