Catholic bishops and organisations have voiced their opposition to the arms trade, as the UK prepares to host one of the world’s largest arms fairs next week.
The DSEI arms fair takes place in London from September 14 to 17, bringing together governments and military delegations from across the world with more than 1,500 companies selling guns, bombs, and other weaponry.
A statement signed by Catholic bishops from across the UK, as well as representatives of Pax Christi, Justice and Peace movements and CAFOD, took up the call of Pope Francis to end the arms trade.
It emphasises how conflicts fuelled by the trade harm the world’s poorest communities, force people to flee their homes as refugees, and have devastating consequences for our environment.
As the UK again prepares to host one of the world’s largest arms fairs, we recall the message of Pope Francis: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”
We recognise the right of every country to defend itself against attack, but we must never ignore, or allow ourselves to become complicit in, the destruction of human life and violations of human dignity made possible by the sale of weaponry. The conflicts fuelled by this trade harm the poorest communities, force people to flee their homes as refugees, and have devastating consequences for our environment.
We stand alongside all those people of goodwill who are peacefully campaigning against the arms trade and join in prayer with the Holy Father that our leaders may commit themselves to ending it, in pursuit of peace and care for our whole human family.
Bishop Declan Lang
Chair – Department of International Affairs, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop William Nolan
President – Justice and Peace Scotland
Bishop William Kenney
Lead bishop for peace and disarmament issues, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop Paul McAleenan
Lead bishop for migrants and refugees, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Chair, Pax Christi England and Wales
Chair, Pax Christi Scotland
Chair, National Justice and Peace Network