Page 1, 25th November 1983

25th November 1983
Page 1
Page 1, 25th November 1983 — Pope and Cardinal Hume issue statements on nuclear threat

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Locations: Geneva, Liverpool, Oxford


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Pope and Cardinal Hume issue statements on nuclear threat

Cardinal lets Kent continue in CND

by Jonathan Petre and Desmond O'Grady CARDINAL Basil Hume this week extended at least qualified support for Mgr Bruce Kent by not asking him to stand down as General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Speculation had mounted last week that Mgr Kent might be asked to modify his role in the nuclear debate after he had made a controversial speech to the Communist Party. But a meeting between the Cardinal and Mgr Kent over the weekend was described as "friendly".

A spokesman for Archbishop's House stressed that the meeting was private, "between a bishop and his priest", and said that no statement would be issued. The spokesman added that further discussions would follow in the near future.

Meanwhile, an article by Cardinal Hume which appeared in The Times on Thursday last week, which sets out the Cardinal's thinking on the morality of a nuclear deterrence policy, has received support from both ends of the political spectrum. Mgr Kent described the article as "a constructive step forward" in the peace process, while Sir John Biggs

Davison, the Catholic Conservative Member of Parliament, said that the Cardinal's thinking was in complete accord with that of Pope John Paul.

But the article was questioned by th,. -iLe,ais of three of the Catholic halls in Oxford. Fr

Timothy Radcliffe, the Prior of Blackfriars, Fr Paul Edwards, SJ, head of Campton Hall, and Dom Philip Holdsworth, Master of St Benet's Hall, expressed their worry that the Cardinal's article did not lead to a condemnation of the present policy of nuclear deterrence.

In a letter to The Times on Tuesday they said: "Although we can accept that certain bad practices may sometimes be tolerated as the lesser of two evils, we see no evidence that our present policy of nuclear deterrence should be put into this category.

"As it is practiced, it is not a stage on the way to anything but nuclear war," the letter said.

In a statement separate from that of the Cardinal's but also released on Thursday last week. the Bishops' Conference of

England and Wales expressed their grave concern about the arrival of Cruise missiles in Britain, and called for "dual control" over the weapons.

"For many this installation on our soil of new weapons of massdestruction creates a heightened fear of nuclear warfare. In addition, there is still some uncertainty as to whether ultimate and clearly desirable control over the use of these missiles rests with our own elected leaders," the statement said.

At a press conference on Thursday, Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool, speaking on behalf of the whole Bishops' Conference, made it clear that the Bishops would be calling on the Government for some form of dual control of Cruise missiles, although he did not commit himself to advocating the "dual key" system.

The Bishops' statement said that Cruise is not seen as a bargaining factor, but as a further obstacle to disarmament talks at Geneva. "We urge the Government, in the heavy responsibilities it seeks to discharge. to provide the public with further ground for reassurance and with evidence of its intensified efforts to achieve genuine and effective disarmament.

Pope John Paul reiterated the urgency of promoting peace in a speech to participants of the 29th Assembly of the Atlantic Treaty Association. It followed on from his recent talk to the Pontifical Academy of Science, in which he invited scientists engaged in research which could be used for destruction to make a choice, instead, in favour of life.

In his latest speech he explained why the Holy See speaks so frequently in defence of peace. "While nations are naturally preoccupied with the requirements of their own defence," the Pope said, "the seemingly endless instances of discord and unrest in the world, and especially the frightening spectre of nuclear holocaust, are powerful incentives to continue the unrelenting search for practical and enduring means of achieving peace.

"The Holy See continually seeks out opportunities to cooperate in the urgent task of promoting peace, not only because it occupies a special place within the international community, but also because its role in accomplishing the very mission of the Church, which is proclaiming the saving message entrusted to her by Jesus Christ."

He went on to say that the Church favours "integral development" so that the divine message may be effectively made known "and thus she strives to participate in and to encourage those endeavours which correspond to one of the highest aspirations of the human spirit, namely, the establishment of true and lasting peace.

"The Church engages in this pursuit. furthermore not in a secondary and extraneous way but in a faithful compliance to the exhortation of the Lord himself, who said 'blessed are the peacemakers' . . "

Further evidence of the Holy See's determination to increase its efforts in the promotion of peace came from Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the Secretary of State, in a speech at the University of San Francisco.

In receiving an honorary degree from the University, the Cardinal said that the problem of war and peace today was perhaps more dramatic, intense and urgent than ever before in history.

He said that the peace marches that occur in many countries may have the faults of unilateralism or unwarranted simplifications, but responded to the deepest despair of peoples.

Editorial — page 4

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