Scottish bishops slam Trident renewal plans

Catholic bishops have questioned the renewal of Trident and called on Britain to take 'decisive and courageous steps' towards eliminating nuclear weapons.

An artists impression of the submarines due to replace the Vangard-class boats which carry Trident missiles. IPicture: BAE Systems
An artists impression of the submarines due to replace the Vangard-class boats which carry Trident missiles. IPicture: BAE Systems

In a joint statement, eight bishops in Scotland said “lives are being lost now because money that could be spent on the needy and the poor is tied up in nuclear arsenals”.

The UK Government has recommended renewing the Trident fleet, based at Faslane on the River Clyde, and the House of Commons will vote on the matter next week.

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Ahead of the vote, the bishops said: “The bishops of Scotland have for a long time pointed out the immorality of the use of strategic nuclear weapons due to the indiscriminate destruction of innocent human life that their use would cause.

“The renewal of Trident is questioned not just by those concerned with the morality of nuclear weapons themselves but also by those concerned about the use of scarce financial resources.

“Lives are being lost now because money that could be spent on the needy and the poor is tied up in nuclear arsenals.

“We endorse the words of Pope Francis: ‘Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations.’

“The United Kingdom, permanent member of the UN Security Council and declared nuclear power, signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968.

“That treaty binds signatories who do not have nuclear weapons not to acquire them, but it also binds those who do have nuclear weapons to work towards the disposing and elimination of all nuclear weapons.

“Britain should take more decisive and courageous steps to revive that aspect of the treaty and not seek to prolong the status quo.”

The statement is signed by Philip Tartaglia, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Archbishop of Glasgow; Joseph Toal, vice-president, Bishop of Motherwell; Hugh Gilbert, Episcopal secretary, Bishop of Aberdeen; Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh; Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld; John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley; William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway; and Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles.

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