Scottish Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien has urged the British Government to give up its “shameful” nuclear weapons programme.
“Do the right thing and give it up,” Cardinal O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh declared on Saturday 16 April2011. He was speaking at a demonstration outside the Royal Navy’s nuclear base in Faslane.
Cardinal O'Brien's comments, widely reported in the world media, also cited Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration: “In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims.”
The new British government under Prime Minister David Cameron remains committed to replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, costing up to £100 billion over its lifetime, despite even military strategists saying that it is redundant.
Cardinal O’Brien told peace protesters,:“Here at the gates of Faslane, there is no better place to say that it is not courageous of Britain to have these dreadful weapons of mass destruction. It is shameful to have them.”
He continued: “Trident is fast becoming obsolete, and we have the chance now to do the right thing and give it up. We have the chance to be peacemakers, echoing the Easter desire of Jesus Christ for a lasting peace.”
Cardinal O’Brien went on: “I've been speaking of the teaching of the Catholic Church on nuclear weapons for many years now, telling our message to whoever is willing to listen, and I'm very pleased to repeat that teaching again today. As you'll see, it's a consistent teaching, a central part of our pro-life stance that has human dignity at its very core.”
In 2006 the now Pope Benedict said: “This point of view, that nuclear weapons have any place in a civilized society, is not only baneful but also completely fallacious. In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all agree to change their course by clear and firm decisions, and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament.”
Cardinal O'Brien is spiritual leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, and also Britain's most senior Catholic cleric.