Culture Ethics

Pope Francis on the anniversary of the bomb: ‘A lasting warning to humanity’

Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican August 9, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Tony Gentile *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MILLER-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Sept. 15, 2015.
Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic palace in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican August 9, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican August 9, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Tony Gentile

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Seventy years after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, Pope Francis on Sunday (Aug. 9) described the bomb as a “lasting warning to humanity.”

Speaking to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Francis recalled the “horror and repulsion” aroused by the twin bombings of Nagasaki on Aug. 9 1945, and Hiroshima, three days earlier.

“This (event) has become the symbol of mankind’s enormous destructive power when it makes a distorted use of scientific and technical progress,” he said.


READ: Pope Francis to name Chicago Archbishop Cupich, top U.S. ally, to Vatican summit on family


More than 70,000 people were killed when U.S. forces dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The bomb that hit Hiroshima left an estimated 140,000 people dead.

The attacks marked a turning point in World War II, prompting Japan to surrender to the Allies, although Japanese civilians continued to suffer from disease and disability long after the bombings.

Reflecting on the legacy of the series of events, the pope said: “(It) serves as a lasting warning to humanity so that it forever rejects war and bans nuclear weapons and all arms of mass destruction.”

Francis marked the anniversary by renewing calls for global peace, appealing for dialogue in the place of violence.

“With war one always loses,” he said. “The only way to win a war is never to wage it.”

Diplomatic relations were formed between Japan and the Vatican in 1942, during the height of World War II. Nearly 40 years later, Pope John Paul II visited Hiroshima, where he read a peace message in Japanese and other languages.


READ:  For abortion foes, it’s now more ‘SHOCK!’ and less ‘Awwwww’ (ANALYSIS)


YS/AMB END SCAMMELL

About the author

Rosie Scammell

Rosie Scammell is a British journalist with extensive experience reporting for leading international news organizations. She has been based in Italy since 2012 and covers the Vatican for RNS.

12 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • As prophecied by the prophet Micah long ago: “And he (God) shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Micah 4:3)

    This prophecy will soon be fulfilled by God and his kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44).

  • The next nuclear bomb used in warfare will probably be detonated somewhere in the Middle East, and will likely be followed by more detonations. Most people living there have no memory nor education regarding the “horror and repulsion.” Each nation in the region must now have its own bomb. Let us hope and pray that our enemies never become capable of detonating a nuclear bomb in America.

  • God will never allow man to nuke himself nor the entire planet to complete destruction (Eccles. 1:4; Psalm 37:10,11). That would go against his purpose for man since his start, and He is more loving and powerful to have his purpose come true.

  • You will get your proof, then, when the great tribulation and Armageddon takes place. Man has used many agents to bring some destruction to his fellowmen and earth. However, “complete destruction” of both of them has not taken place nor ever will.

  • Human beings are capable of walking the right path. Bless us O Lord with healthy minds and caring hearts.

  • As bad as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, they were nothing compared to the U.S. fire bombing of Tokyo. which took three times more lives.

  • Let’s be even more brutally honest. The atomic bombing prevented the death and starvation of at least 2-3 million Japanese civilians which would have died in the continued blocade and subsequent invasion of Japan.

    My own parents in law lived in the Osaka metro area as children during the war. They owe us their survival in spring/summer of 1945 to stealing root vegetables from gardens and American occupation forces bringing tons of food.

    If you want to see the most emotionally draining animated feature ever, concerning this sort of thing, rent Grave of the Fireflies. If you do not tear up by the end, you left your soul at a bus stop.

  • I think some people are beginning to find this constant self-promotion by a “religious” leader a little unsettling and that’s why fewer Americans have a favorable view according to the recent Gallup poll.

  • Pssst. Fran. You’re deluded.

    Your story sounds like the standard insane JW plotline, so are you one?

ADVERTISEMENTs