The Holy See‘s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York issues an urgent plea for a ceasefire in Ukraine and calls for disarmament and the banning of nuclear weapons.
By Linda Bordoni
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia addressed the UN General Assembly with a succinct and heartfelt plea for ravaged Ukraine:
“End the madness of this conflict that, with every ongoing hour, takes innocent lives and deepens the wounds among peoples, destroying the mutual trust upon which the international order depends.”
The Holy See’s Permanent Representative was speaking during an Emergency Special Session on Tuesday when he echoed Pope Francis’ appeal for an immediate ceasefire and for the start of negotiations.
Quoting from the Pope’s plea that weapons be silenced and conditions sought “for the start of negotiations that will lead to solutions that are not imposed by force, but consensual, just and stable,” Archbishop Caccia noted that those solutions must be “based on respect for the sacrosanct value of human life, as well as on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country.”
He reiterated that we all have a role to play, must avoid being drawn into dangerous escalations and must promote and support initiatives for dialogue.
The threat of nuclear escalation
The archbishop went on to highlight the urgency of this call.
These words take on greater weight with the added threat of nuclear escalation, and makes even more urgent the transformation of “the hearts of those who hold the outcome of the war in their hands, so that the hurricane of violence may cease, and peaceful coexistence, in justice, may be rebuilt.
Concluding, Archbishop Caccia recalled Pope St. Paul VI’s clarion call:
“No more war!”
Integral disarmament and banning of nuclear weapons
In a separate speech to the Committee which addresses issues related to disarmament and international security, Archbishop Caccia recalled the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 noting that it was averted only though banning nuclear weapons, disarmament, dialogue and the building of mutual trust.
He upheld the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and Treaty (CBTB) on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which, he said, complement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and are signs of concrete hope.
The Holy See’s representative also expressed concern over the failure of the Tenth NPT to achieve consensus.
He noted that this year world military expenditure passed $2 trillion for the first time.
“This harmful spending squanders resources that could promote integral human development and save countless lives.”
Archbishop Caccia repeated Pope St. Paul VI’s plea for disarmament before the General Assembly in 1965 recalling his poignant words:
“A person cannot love with offensive weapons in his hands.”