Letters to the Editor

Taken to Task for Plowshares

Dear Editor: I read with great interest the letter from Dennis Torre in which he took you to task for merely reporting the Kings Bay Plowshares action. Apparently he was seeking a more condemnatory note, which I feel sure on a variety of other topics he would categorize as “fake news.”

Not an easy time to be a journalist.

A brief word about the Church’s magisterium in this matter: On the topic of the immorality of nuclear weapons, the bishops could not be more clear. In its 1983 pastoral letter “The Challenge of Peace,” the National Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote: “Under no circumstances may nuclear weapons or other instruments of mass slaughter be used for the purpose of destroying population centers or other predominantly civilian targets.”

Each Trident submarine at Kings Bay can carry up to 24 ballistic missiles, and each missile can carry up to eight 100-megaton warheads – about 30 times the destructive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Can there be any purpose of such a weapon other than that of destroying population centers?

Torre wonders “if the true desire for world peace can ever justify using the means of trespassing and defacing government property.”

Countenancing the growing capability to incinerate population centers and all life within them is the obscenity the Kings Bay Plowshares “trespass” protested. However, if the defacing of property is Torre’s primary concern, he need only review photos of Hiroshima’s aftermath to see the real thing.


Ditmas Park

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2 thoughts on “Taken to Task for Plowshares

  1. Thank you for posting all three letters on the Plowshares actions. Each is informative and respectful. Such dialogue is refreshing and appreciated.

  2. As a member of the Kings Bay Plowshares I welcome and respect the views of those who write in opposition to the defacing and destroying of government property. Our efforts to smash idols and beat swords into plowshares are certainly controversial and should be debated. Since the seven of us spent more than 18 months in prayerful discernment of how we could best respond as Catholics to the reality that human existence could come to an end at any moment if nuclear weapons are deployed, it should be clear that we did not enter into this process recklessly. And, of course, we stand ready to face the consequences of our actions, which for me will mean the painful separation from my wife, my eight children, and my two grandchildren to be born this summer.
    Here’s the rub for me — in St. Marys, GA., where the Trident submarines are based, few citizens seem to be troubled by the fact that their economy and livelihood are predicated on the reality that the weapons of mass destruction in the harbor, if deployed, could literally end the human experiment. Yet, the tactics of a band of Catholic pacifists are critiqued ad nauseam. Tridents and weapons of mass destruction are not proper to life. Surely, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is not pro-nuke. All I’m asking is that Christians, who remain silent in the face of such nuclear madness, also devote some time to figuring out how we can best protect God’s Creation from omnicide and assure a future for our children and grandchildren. In Peace, Patrick O’Neill, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House, Garner, N.C. PMTONEILL@AOL.COM