(CNS) -- Saying the possession, upgrading and potential use of nuclear weapons
was sinful, peacemakers gathered outside the White House on the feast of the
Transfiguration and implored the U.S. government to empty its arsenals and embrace
a world of peace.
weapons are immoral, illegal, anti-God, anti-life, anti-creation and have no
right to exist," Art Laffin of Washington's Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
community told the gathering Aug. 6, marking the 72nd anniversary of the atomic
bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
the feast of the Transfiguration invites the world to "say yes to the God
of life, who commands us to love and not to kill, and no the forces of evil,
death and destruction."
the group to recall that the anniversary was a time of "remembering the
horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons"
during the one-hour vigil just after sunrise.
The group included members of
Catholic movements working to end nuclear weapons. They had gathered to
"apologize" for the Hiroshima bombing, and for the bombing three days
later of the Japanese city of Nagasaki Aug. 9, 1945, both of which culminated in
the death and maiming of hundreds of thousands of people, the peacemakers said.
gathered, representatives of organizations such as the Maryknoll Office for
Global Concerns, Pax Christi USA and the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
placed photos of the destruction and the Japanese victims of the bombing on the
street in front of the presidential mansion, calling it "shrine of
were invited to recommit their lives to "disarming and dismantling the
machinery of mass destruction" and offered an apology to bombing
survivors, known as Hibakusha.
white roses were distributed to participants during the event. The red roses were said
to symbolize the sacredness of life and the grief and suffered caused by war and
the atomic bombing. The white roses were said to symbolize hope and the
commitment to work for a nonviolent world.
the U.S. commitment to spend $1 trillion during the next three decades to
modernize its nuclear arsenal. He said such spending is "a direct theft
from the poor."
the U.S. is to ever truly lead the way to real disarmament, it must first
repent for the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then and only then
can the U.S. legitimately ask other nuclear nations to disarm," he said.
the end of World War II, U.S. and political leaders have maintained that nuclear
weapons are necessary and serve as a deterrent to potential attacks from other
also gathered Aug. 9 at the Pentagon, the anniversary of the bombing of
Nagasaki, Japan. They also recalled the lives of martyrs St. Edith Stein
and Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, who were killed by Nazi troops.
They repeated their call that the U.S. dismantle all nuclear weapons in order to set an example for the rest of the world.
participants were arrested for not staying within the designated
protest zone near the Pentagon. Bill Frankel-Streit of Louisa, Virginia,
and Eric Martin of New York were taken into custody as they held photos
of bombing victims.