Pope Francis. (File Photo: IANS)
During his visit to Japan, Pope Francis said on Friday that the threat of using nuclear weapons is not the way to build peace and shared responsibility in the human family, reiterating the Church’s commitment to peace.
Francis further said, “Indeed they seem always to thwart it”.
In a highly symbolic visit to the Japanese city devastated by the nuclear attack in August 1945, Francis said that nuclear weapons were “not the answer” to a desire for security, peace and stability.
Pope Francis visited Nagasaki during his three-day visit to Japan. He will also make a stop-over in Hiroshima and spend one day in Tokyo.
Japan is the second leg of a papal trip to Asia, which began in Thailand Nov. 20-23.
Nagasaki “witnessed the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of a nuclear attack,” Francis added.
“This place makes us deeply aware of the pain and horror that we human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another”, he said.
During World War II, Nagasaki was the site of a nuclear attack by the U.S. on Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bomb “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima.
According to the Pope, no one can ever speak out too much against the arms race and the damage it causes, including the wasting of financial resources which could be used to feed impoverished children and families.
On Wednesday, Francis had arrived in Thailand where he gave a message of peace and promote denuclearisation.
Francis has met with Thai King Vajiralongkorn and also sat down with the Buddhist Supreme Patriarch — the head of Thailand’s Buddhists — readily taking off his shoes during the visit to adhere to local customs.
The first person to greet Francis as he got off the plane was his second cousin Ana Rosa Sivori, a 77-year-old nun who has lived in Thailand for 53 years and will act as the Pope’s translator during his stay.
On November 25, the pope will meet with ten victims of the so-called “triple catastrophe” of Fukushima that in 2011 killed 18,000 people as a result of an earthquake of magnitude 9 on the Richter scale, a tsunami and an accident at the nuclear power plant.
Pope Francis will also visit Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace and will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and civil and diplomatic authorities.