Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh signed the Just Defence Charter many years ago.
Two of its nine clauses are:
- Since weapons of mass destruction are, by their nature, threatening and provocative, British defence policy should not depend on the use of nuclear weapons. To this end Britain should phase out the storage or operation of such weapons.
- The early reduction to a strict minimum of strategic nuclear weapons confined to the two superpowers would be a major and welcome step towards creating the conditions of detente and mutual security which will allow for the ultimate elimination of all such weapons.
Ekklesia reports that on Saturday 16 April 2011 he urged the British Government to give up its “shameful” nuclear weapons programme.
“Do the right thing and give it up,” he declared at a demonstration outside the Royal Navy’s nuclear base in Faslane. Cardinal O’Brien told peace protesters: “Here at the gates of Faslane, there is no better place to say that it is not courageous of Britain to have these dreadful weapons of mass destruction. It is shameful to have them.”
He cited Pope Benedict XVI, who said:
“This point of view, that nuclear weapons have any place in a civilized society, is not only baneful but also completely fallacious. In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all agree to change their course by clear and firm decisions, and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament.”