By Katie Ascough - 10 August, 2020
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland, has delivered a message from Saint Patrick’s Church, Pennyburn, Derry, to mark Nagasaki Day on 9 August. This year, Nagasaki Day marks the 75th anniversary of the day the US dropped the second nuclear bomb on Japan, the first having been dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier. This event led to Japan’s unconditional surrender in Second World War.
The bombing of Nagasaki is estimated to have killed 70,000 people, with about another 70,000 having died from radiation-related illnesses later. According to the Department of Energy’s history of the Manhattan Project, “The five-year death total may have reached or even exceeded 200,000, as cancer and other long-term effects took hold.”
Archbishop Martin noted that the “bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seventy-five years ago are still seen by many as among the worst examples of what we humans can do to each other. The devastation caused on the ground was unimaginable – last Tuesday’s horrific explosion that ripped through the port in Beirut, causing such terrible death and destruction, was small in comparison. And yet, several countries continue to hold, develop or test weapons of mass destruction which are capable of unleashing many times over the horrors of 1945.”
Archbishop Martin reflected on Pope Francis’ visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a pilgrim for peace last November. “He passionately pleaded for an end to the development and threat of such armaments, including the use of the deterrence argument – that having such weapons helps to guarantee world security and peace. He said ‘the possession of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is not the answer’. Instead it fosters ‘a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust, one that ends up poisoning relationships between peoples and obstructing any form of dialogue’. It is ‘incompatible’ he said to try to build and sustain peace ‘upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation’,” the archbishop said, quoting Pope Francis.
Archbishop Martin also highlighted Pope Francis’ strong denouncement of the “arms race” and his point that “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”.
Archbishop Martin concluded his message with an invitation to pray together:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.