Updated: July 28, 2021 03:01 PM GMT
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, lays a floral wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on July 16. (Photo: The Yomiuri Shimbun via AFP)
Catholic bishops in Japan have called for the prohibition of nuclear weapons as they announced a 10-day prayer program marking the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
Each year from the date of the Hiroshima bombing, Aug. 6, to Aug. 15, when Japan surrendered in the Second World War, the Church marks Ten Days of Prayer for Peace with special prayers, workshops and other activities directed toward peace.
“As we once again this year mark the Ten Days of Prayer for Peace by reflecting about peace, praying for peace and acting for peace, I want to share with you my conviction that protecting all life is the way to peace,” said Archbishop Takami’s message published on the bishops' conference's website.
Pope Francis’s Apostolic Journey to Japan in November 2019 underlined the ongoing threat of nuclear war, the message said.
The message called for more nations to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force on Jan. 22.
Several countries, including nuclear powers and countries like Japan under the “nuclear umbrella,” refuse to ratify the treaty, claiming it is unrealistic.
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Japan, the only country to suffer atomic bombings, “should be among the first to ratify the treaty. I pray that many non-nuclear countries will ratify the treaty” and put pressure on others to do so, Archbishop Takami said.Besides armed conflicts and the plight of refugees, a new Cold War confrontation between the United States and China is having “a significant negative impact on the political and economic stability of the international community,” the message noted.Noting that that confrontation between nations and weapons of mass destruction threaten peace, the message asked nations to make “make patient efforts to build better relations.”