On the Peripheries: Exploring paths to nuclear zero

By Samantha Lin

ROME — From the interplanetary to the afterlife, the Vincent Pallotti Institute’s adult faith-formation series this autumn has dealt with the periphery in many unexpected ways. This past week was no different.

The Lay Centre welcomed Professor Carole Sargent and Father Drew Christiansen, SJ, for their talk, “On the Peripheries: Exploring the Paths to Nuclear Zero” on 9 November. Both guests are professors at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. They were in Rome for a Vatican summit on nuclear disarmament, entitled “Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Development.”

The two speakers wove their talks together in discussing, from both the policy and the grassroots perspectives, the paths to end nuclear proliferation. Father Christiansen traced unwavering Vatican support to lobby countries to pass nuclear bans and to create working groups of countries that have already agreed to nuclear non-proliferation.

Father Drew Christiansen, SJ, Donna Orsuto, and Professor Carole Sargent

Dr. Sargent instead focused on the role of religious sisters in protesting nuclear weapons. She spoke of Sister Megan Rice, who committed the largest breach in U.S. nuclear security history, when she and two colleagues broke into a secure uranium-processing site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where they painted anti-nuclear weapons graffiti, prayed and broke bread. As part of the Plowshares Movement, Sister Rice was determined to bring national attention and condemnation to the nuclear weapons industry in the United States.

Father Christiansen pointed out that success in nuclear proliferation treaties, in the past, have come from highlighting the humanitarian impact that nuclear weapons and nuclear manufacturing have. This marriage of humanitarian and political concerns is a hopeful glimpse into what could have a major impact in creating worldwide anti-nuclear treaties, he said.

The said, in the many diverse and creative ways of resisting nuclear weapons, there is hope for a better, more peaceful future.

On Thursday, November 16, we will continue the series, this time “From the centre to the peripheries, from the peripheries to the centre. Jewish – Christian Relations.” To help us explore these peripheries, we will welcome Rabbi Joseph Levi, Former Head of the Jewish Community of Florence, and Philipp G. Renczes, S.J., Professor, Pontifical Gregorian University (co-sponsored by Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies, Pontifical Gregorian University).

To register for the series contact info@laycentre.org


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