The recollection of what happened on 6 August 1945 should be of utmost importance for the behaviour of mankind.
The Mayor of Hiroshima, in talking about the 2020 Peace Memorial Ceremony, recalls it was said no trees or plants would grow in the city for 75 years. It is now the 75th anniversary of that dreadful initial use of an atomic bomb, and on a civilian population. He observed that though Covid-19 is a new kind of threat, it has had the effect of causing people to come together and unite. This gives him hope that the international community will renew its resolve to abolish nuclear weapons.
Essex Christian CND have commemorated Hiroshima Day for many years – particularly by exchanging Peace Candles with Hiroshima and using them in liturgies on the day. These events have been held in both Catholic and Church of England Cathedrals, supported and often attended by their Bishops.
This year’s is planned to take place in Chelmsford Cathedral, led by the Bishop of Colchester, Bishop Roger Morris. The 7pm ceremony will be streamed and videoed to help all who wish to participate, since, due to virus precautions, only a limited number can be physically present. The candle from Hiroshima will be lit by Japanese representatives.
Last year, Pope Francis visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki and has been adamant in condemning possession – as well as use – of nuclear weapons. In Nagasaki he said, “in a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven.”
The recent Joint Interfaith Statement from the World Council of Churches includes:
- ‘commitment to speaking with one voice that rejects the existential threat to humanity that nuclear weapons pose.’
- ‘the presence of even one nuclear weapon violates the core principles of our different faith traditions.’
- ‘here and now they undermine the ethical and moral foundations of the common good.’
- ‘we lament the racism and colonialism that drove the nuclear-weapons states to test their weapons on the communities that they deemed expendable.’
- ‘they enforce and sustain a global system based on domination and unending violence.’
- ‘we call on all States to join the growing community of States which have rejected nuclear weapons entirely and appeal to you to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.’
Patricia and Michael Pulham are on the Executive of the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CCND), a member of the National Justice and Peace Network.