Pope calls for disarmament, backs nuke energy

In a message marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Pope Benedict pleaded for nuclear disarmament but backed the increased peaceful use of nuclear energy to promote development for the world's poor.

Zenit reports that the pope noted that among its objectives, the IAEA seeks "to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health, and prosperity throughout the world."

"The Holy See, fully approving of the IAEA's goal, has been a member from the organisation's foundation and continues to support its activity," Pope Benedict said.

"The epochal changes of the last 50 years are evidence of how, in the difficult crossroads at which humanity finds itself, the commitment to encourage the nonproliferation of nuclear arms, to promote a progressive and agreed-upon nuclear disarmament, and to favour the peaceful and safe use of nuclear technology for authentic development - respectful of the environment and always attentive to the most disadvantaged populations - is always relevant and urgent," the pope said.

Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict re-emphasised how in the place of "the arms race there must be substituted a common effort to mobilise resources toward objectives of moral, cultural and economic development, redefining the priorities and hierarchies of values."

The Pope asked that "scientific and technological knowledge be used with a sense of responsibility and for the common good, in complete respect for international law."

In his message the pope also condemned the kidnapping of innocent people especially by armed militias, calling such abductions "criminal acts" that violate human dignity and offend divine law.

However, Germany's opposition Green (Gruene) party responded with a strong worded criticism.

Green party chief Reinhard Buetikofer was quoted as saying ironically that the head of the Catholic church should be "promptly named the atomic policy advisor of the federal (German) government".

He added that the pope has discovered something that contemporaries with "less metaphysical capabilities have so far searched in vain, namely the alleged peaceful and secure use of atomic power".

Pope condemns kidnapping of innocent people by armed militias (Catholic News, 30/7/07)
Pontiff Wants Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy (Zenit, 29/7/07)
Pope backs nuclear disarmament (Scotsman, 30/7/07)
Greens rap Pope for backing civilian use of nuclear energy (IRNA, 3/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency (Wikipedia)

Hickey a nuclear convert (CathNews, 2/7/07)
Catholic Earthcare declares position on uranium (CathNews, 18/10/05)

31 Jul 2007