A World Free from Nuclear Weapons

The Vatican Conference on Disarmament

Edited by Drew Christiansen, SJ and Carole Sargent
With an Address by Pope Francis
With Contributions from Seven Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

"An important contribution to the debate and discussion about the path toward disarmament, for a range of communities."
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On November 10, 2017, Pope Francis became the first pontiff in the nuclear era to take a complete stand against nuclear weapons, even as a form of deterrence. At a Vatican conference of leaders in the field of disarmament, he made it clear that the possession of the bomb itself was immoral. A World Free from Nuclear Weapons presents the pope’s address and original testimony from Nobel Peace Prize laureates, religious leaders, diplomats, and civil society activists.

These luminaries, which include the pope and a Hiroshima survivor, make the moral case against possessing, manufacturing, and deploying nuclear arms. Drew Christiansen, a member of the Holy See delegation to the 2017 United Nations conference that negotiated the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, helps readers to understand this conference in its historical context.

A World Free from Nuclear Weapons is a critical companion for scholars of modern Catholicism, moral theology, and peace studies, as well as policymakers working on effective disarmament. It shows how the Church’s revised position presents an opportunity for global leaders to connect disarmament to larger movements for peace, pointing toward future action.

Table of Contents

Peter K. A. Cardinal Turkson

Introduction: Toward a Positive Peace
Drew Christiansen, SJ

Part I: Setting the Agenda

1. Address by His Holiness Pope Francis

2. Address by Pietro Cardinal Parolin

Part II: Witnesses

3. Surviving the Atomic Bomb
Masako Wada

4. Hiroshima’s Heritage and the Role of Companies in City Reconstruction: How This Experience Shaped Today’s Values
Bruno L. Müller

Part III: Laureates

5. Letter from Nobel Peace Prize Laureates to His Holiness Pope Francis on the Occasion of the International Conference
Mohamed ElBaradei, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Jody Williams, and Muhammad Yunus

6. Nuclear Weapons: Confronting Armageddon
Mohamed ElBaradei

7. For the Disarmament of Injustice
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

8. Will Human Beings Survive Another Century?
Muhammad Yunus

9. What the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Can Offer for the Future Work of Nongovernmental Organizations
Beatrice Fihn

10. Nukes, Land Mines, and Killer Robots
Jody Williams

11. The Peace Process in Northern Ireland
Mairead Corrigan-Maguire

Part IV: Diplomats

12. The UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Ban Nuclear Weapons: A Debate
Rose Gottemoeller, Thomas Hajnoczi, and Jorge Lomónaco

13. Beyond Nuclear Deterrence: Transforming the US-Russian Equation
Alexei Georgevich Arbatov

14. International Diplomacy and International Security Issues
Izumi Nakamitsu

15. The Role of International Diplomacy and International Organizations
Thomas Stelzer

Part V: International Civil Society

16. The Humanitarian Initiative as a Condition for the Ban on Nuclear Weapons
François Bugnion

17. The Role of Civil Society
Susi Snyder

18. Reconciliation and Disarmament
Marie-Noëlle Koyara

19. The Risks of Nuclear War Today
Paolo Cotta-Ramusino

20. Dealing with Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East
Emily Landau

21. Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East: Resolving the Deadlock
Ayman Khalil

Part VI: More Religious Voices

22. We Must Do No Less
Monsignor Robert W. McElroy

23. Transforming the Human Spirit
Hiromasa Ikeda

24. Migrations and Wars
Monica Attias

25. The Social and Moral Responsibilities of Knowledge Workers
Drew Christiansen, SJ

26. Preliminary Conclusions
Stephen Colecchi

Part VII: Closing

27. Salutations
Peter K. A. Cardinal Turkson

Afterword: The Holy See and Nuclear Disarmament—Achievements and Challenges
Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi


"Effectively compiled and edited by the team of Drew Christiansen and Carole Sargent, "A World Free from Nuclear Weapons: The Vatican Conference on Disarmament" is an extraordinary work that should be considered essential reading by all members of the Catholic community in general, and anyone concerned with the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world today."—Midwest Book Review

"An important contribution to the debate and discussion about the path toward disarmament, for a range of communities."—Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, professor of theological ethics, Boston College

"A World Free from Nuclear Weapons demonstrates the role that the religious community can play in an important public policy discussion and how it might contribute to a political movement. The volume will interest anyone examining the relevance of religious actors in public life."—George A. Lopez, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame


Contributors (in order of appearance): Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson; Drew Christiansen, SJ (co-editor); Pope Francis; Cardinal Pietro Parolin; Masako Wada (hibakusha, a survivor of Nagasaki); Bruno L. Müller; Rose Gottemoeller; Thomas Hajnoczi; Jorge Lomónaco; Alexei Georgevich Arbatov; Izumi Nakamitsu; Thomas Stelzer; François Bugnion; Marie-Noëlle Koyara; Paolo Cotta-Ramusino; Emily Landau; Ayman Khalil; Bishop Robert W. McElroy; Hiromasa Ikeda; Monica Attias; Stephen Colecchi; Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi Nobel-Peace-Prize Winning Contributors (in order of appearance): Mohamed ElBaradei; Mairead Corrigan-Maguire; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; Jody Williams; Muhammad Yunus; Beatrice Fihn; Susi Snyder

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Drew Christiansen, SJ, is Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Human Development at the Walsh School of Foreign Service and a senior fellow at its Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, both at Georgetown University. He serves as a frequent consultant to the Holy See and as a member of the steering committee of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network. Although best known for his time as editor-in-chief of America: The Jesuit Weekly, he is also the coauthor or coeditor of a number of books, including most recently Forgiveness in International Politics: An Alternative Road to Peace, and a contributing editor for the Journal of Catholic Social Thought and the Review of Faith & International Affairs.

Carole Sargent is a literary historian of early modern women’s political thought and founding director of Georgetown University’s Office of Scholarly Publications. The author of two books, her national media platform has included NPR, CNN, The New York Times, and 60 Minutes. As an Associate of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ), she founded a faculty peace community in Washington, DC, and has presented with Drew Christiansen at the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas in Rome, Italy, on Catholic sisters who are active in nuclear disarmament.

152 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-803-9
Aug 2020

152 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-804-6
Aug 2020

152 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-62616-805-3
Aug 2020

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