President Obama submitted the recently negotiated nuclear deal with Iran to Congress in July, 2016. With the initial vote of Congress coming on September 17th, it is important to understand the position of the Church regarding the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
In April of 1963, Pope John XXIII (now Saint John XXIII) wrote emphatically, “Nuclear Weapons must be banned” (Pacem in Terris, #112). While John XXIII was not referring to Iran specifically, he was referencing the fear we all experience given the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
52 years later, Pope Francis, referring to the recent agreement reached with Iran, proclaimed the following during his 2015 Easter homily, “In hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.”
Pope Francis had been following the development of this agreement: “I express my hope that a definitive agreement may soon be reached between Iran and the P5+1 Group regarding the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and my appreciation of the efforts already made in this regard” (January, 2015)
“In that spirit, our Committee will continue to urge Congress to endorse the result
of these intense negotiations because the alternative leads toward armed conflict, an outcome of
profound concern to the Church.”
On July 4th, Bishop Oscar Cantu’, the Chairman of the Committee on International Justice & Peace of the USCCB, sent a letter to both Houses of Congress expressing the support of the American bishops for the agreement. You can read the letter here, usccbonIran.
More general statements regarding nuclear weapons are also available on the USCCB website.
Perhaps the Holy Father and/or the American Bishops will release additional statements as the process continues to unfold; until then, we have these comments from Pope Francis and Bishop Cantu’ to guide our thoughts.