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Archbishop calls nuclear disarmament a pro-life issue at Trinity anniversary remembrance

This is the mushroom cloud of the first atomic explosion at Trinity Test Site, N.M., on July 16, 1945.
This is the mushroom cloud of the first atomic explosion at Trinity Test Site, N.M., on July 16, 1945.

Sunday was the 78th anniversary of the Trinity Test, the world’s first nuclear explosion, which took place in southern New Mexico. At a remembrance in Santa Fe, Archbishop John Wester renewed his call to eliminate nuclear weapons. He was joined by anti-nuclear activists and people from a variety of faith traditions in person and online.

Wester noted the presence of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which evolved from the secret Manhattan Project, and Sandia National Laboratories, as well as Kirtland Airforce Base and invoked Pope Francis, who in 2019 called the possession of atomic weapons immoral.

“Given the prominence of nuclear weapons in the land entrusted to our spiritual care, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, I believe, has a special responsibility to advocate for and provide guidance toward a future free of nuclear weapons,” Wester said.

The archbishop warned that with war in Ukraine, the country faces the most serious nuclear threat since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and he hopes to make this a pro-life issue.

“After all, what could be more pro-life than to rid the planet of the only weapons capable of ending God’s creation right on this our only Earth?” he asked.

University of New Mexico Assistant Professor Myrriah Gomez, author of “Nuclear Nuevo Mexico,” reminded attendees that July 16 is also the anniversary of the uranium spill in Church Rock, New Mexico in 1979, which was the largest release of radioactive material in U.S. history. She spoke of the long-term impacts of the nuclear industry on citizens and the environment, calling it the third colonization of the state.

“I've thought a lot about the role of the church in abolishing nuclear weapons recently and it makes perfect sense,” she said. “Really, colonialism began in New Mexico with the Catholic Church. While we cannot change the past we can grow the future. Let’s end colonialism with the Catholic Church.”

Wester issued a pastoral letter last year calling for nuclear disarmament. He’s also traveling to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August for the anniversary of the atomic bombings of those cities by the United States in 1945.

Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.
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