Pope speaks out against nuclear weapons in Nagasaki

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The first grand meeting of the second part of the pope's trip in Asia was in Nagasaki, at the exact location where the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945.

Pope Francis looked serious as he walked through the rain, greeting participants who were waiting for him in the stormy weather.

Two elderly survivors gave him this wreath of flowers, which he placed next to the monument where names of victims were written.

In his speech, the pope said, “This place makes us deeply aware of the pain and horror that we human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another.”

He then asked for the total dismantling of nuclear and mass destruction weapons, as they are based on a mentality of fear and distrust. He said they poison the relationships between communities and stop dialogue.

“Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation. Convinced as I am that a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary, I ask political leaders not to forget that these weapons cannot protect us from current threats to national and international security.”

The pope proposed to use the money saved to maintain these arsenals for the integral development of communities and environmental protection.

“In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven.”

Next to the monument was the photograph taken by Joe O'Donnell, the icon of the nuclear tragedy. It's a child waiting in line to deliver his dead brother's body.

The pope stopped for a few moments with the photographer's son.

“The photo has done a lot of good work for peace.”

Beneath the rain with great emotion, he left as a choir sang music that matched how everyone felt.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Translated: Rachel Dobrzynski

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