Four Archbishops Urge G7 Leaders to Undertake Concrete Steps Toward Nuclear Disarmament

On May 15th, four Archbishops, including Archbishop John C. Wester of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, sent a letter to the Group of Seven leaders gathering for a three-day summit in Hiroshima, Japan to urge the leaders to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament.

The Roman Catholic Church spiritual leaders besides Archbishop Wester, are Paul Etienne, Archbishop of Seattle; Peter Michiaki Nakamura, Archbishop of Nagasaki, and Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama, Bishop of Hiroshima.

The recipients of the letter are the President of the USA, Joseph R. Biden; Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida; President of France, Emmanuel Macron; Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni; Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz; Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak; and Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

It reads:

John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe

Paul Etienne, Archbishop of Seattle

Peter Michiaki Nakamura, Archbishop of Nagasaki

Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama, Bishop of Hiroshima

May 15, 2023

President of the United States of America, Joseph R. Biden
Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida
President of France, Emmanuel Macron
Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni
Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau

Dear G7 Leaders,

We, the undersigned spiritual leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, urge you to use the upcoming summit of the International Group of Seven to undertake concrete steps toward global, verifiable nuclear disarmament.

We commend Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for choosing the City of Hiroshima, the first victim of nuclear war, as the summit venue. That alone is a powerful message. We enthusiastically welcome the meeting between G7 leaders and the hibakusha – the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – as a step toward recognizing the long-lasting horrors of nuclear warfare.

As the Roman Catholic spiritual leaders of the diocese with the most spending on nuclear weapons in the United States (Santa Fe, NM), the diocese with the most deployed strategic nuclear weapons in the United States (Seattle, WA), and the only two dioceses in the world to have suffered atomic attacks (Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan), we are compelled by providence to speak out.

As Prime Minister Kishida observed, the summit presents a unique opportunity “to deepen discussions so that we can release a strong message toward realizing a world free of nuclear weapons” and to “demonstrate a firm commitment to absolutely reject the threat or use of nuclear weapons.”

We strongly agree. We, therefore, urge you to use the summit to center international attention on the importance of nuclear arms control and disarmament and demonstrate a global commitment to nonproliferation efforts. Rather than viewing the war in Ukraine as an overwhelming impediment toward making substantial progress, we view it instead as a clear demonstration of the absolute need to do so.

Specifically, we encourage G7 leaders to:

  • acknowledge the tremendous, long-lasting human suffering the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings inflicted upon the hibakusha; acknowledge the tremendous, long-lasting human suffering that production and nuclear weapons testing caused to downwinders around the world;
  • reiterate a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, as well as emphasize that, as the G-20 agreed to in November 2022, the use and the threat of use of nuclear weapons are “inadmissible”;
  • reaffirm the goal of a future world free of nuclear weapons;
  • announce and commit to concrete steps to prevent a new arms race, guard against nuclear weapons use, and advance nuclear disarmament;
  • reiterate that serious talks should be restored between the United States and Russia to renew full implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and to negotiate a follow-on treaty; and finally,
  • honor the international mandate to enter into serious multilateral negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament, pledged more than a half-century ago in the 1970 NonProliferation Treaty.

Throughout the years, world leaders have spoken about the need to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons, prevent a new nuclear arms race, and avoid the ultimate catastrophe, that is potentially civilization-ending nuclear war. These calls have long been echoed by many notable world leaders, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, and Pope Francis. But it is now time to translate rhetoric into action.

We believe today’s new nuclear arms race is more dangerous than the first arms race, given multiple nuclear actors and the advent of new cyber and hypersonic weapons and artificial intelligence. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara asserted that humanity survived the Cuban Missile Crisis only by luck. Luck is not sufficient to ensure the continuing survival of the human race.

We strongly urge world leaders at the G7 Summit to show by example how international leadership is ready, willing, and able to work with nuclear weapons and non-nuclear weapons states to ensure no country or city ever suffers the horrors of nuclear war again.

Yours in the hopes of humanity for lasting peace on earth,

Most Reverend John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, NM

Most Reverend Paul Etienne, Archbishop of Seattle, WA

Most Reverend Peter Michiaki Nakamura, Archbishop of Nagasaki, Japan

Most Reverend Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama,  Bishop of Hiroshima, Japan

  1. Friday, May 19th from noon to 1 pm – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.



  1. Tuesday, May 23rd at noon – Vigil to end gun violence on the Santa Fe Plaza.            Vigil to end gun violence



  1. Tuesday, May 23rd – White Sands Missile Range – Comments due to the NM Environment Department about the draft Hazardous Waste Permit.  , scroll down to Draft Permit and March 24, 2023 entry.



  1. June 5, 2023 – comments due on scope of a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Sandia National Laboratories.  and 


Written comments on the scope of the SNL/NM SWEIS or requests for information related to the SNL/NM SWEIS may be sent via postal mail to:

National Nuclear Security Administration, Sandia Field Office
PO Box 5400
Albuquerque, NM 87185

or by email to: or


  1. June 6, 2023 – comments due on the scope of an Environmental Assessment for the Chromium Interim Measures and Final Remedy.

Submit your comments to: (preferred)
Please use the subject line: Chromium EA Scoping Comment

U.S. mail:
Jesse Kahler
NEPA Compliance Officer
U.S. DOE Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office
1200 Trinity Drive, Suite 400
Los Alamos, NM 87544


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