Articles

The Pope and the Bomb: Beyond Deterrence – Conscience Formation and Public Education


– Groups, Antea, she
said, was reevaluating its elite strategy to
deal with this question, and moving toward recognizing that we need a change of culture. And she suggested that the Catholic Church should have a parish-oriented strategy to get ordinary Catholics
more engaged in this issues and understanding just how
serious a problem we have. So, this panel’s going
to explore some of that. How do you inform conscience, as a continuation of, I think, what Drew Christiansen just did. And how do you do education? How do you beyond the Washington elites or the London elites, the Geneva elites who normally deal with this question? So, today we have our
facilitator, Kevin Ahern, who is associate professor
of religious studies at Manhattan College. We have Professor Margaret Pfeil who holds a joint appointment
in the department of theology and the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame. And we have Erin Connolly,
who is a masters student in peace studies at the
Kroc Institute at Notre Dame and is associate program director for a new N.G.O. she helped start called Girl Security, and
also a research analyst at the Center for Arms
Control and Non-Proliferation. So, take it away. – Great. Hello, I’m Erin. I’ll try and be brief,
it’s the end of the day. And first, I just wanted to
thank the conference organizers and everyone for being here
and staying till the end. So, as other panels
have illustrated today, nuclear disarmament
progress has been stagnating for quite some time, and
we’re approaching regression. U.S. leadership to reduce the
threat of nuclear weapons, seems to have fallen to the wayside, and instead, Trump’s
erraticism has forced us into damage control mode
where we’re studying how Twitter impacts escalation dynamics and how to salvage what was regarded as a landmark multilateral
agreement with Iran just a few years ago. The nuclear and proliferation
space is a tough place to be these days, and I’m saying that as someone who hasn’t been here very long. As policy makers and
activists, we are acutely aware of the existential threat
posed by nuclear weapons and the incredible amount of physical and environmental destruction,
long-term radiation effects, and indiscriminate suffering
is disturbing to say the least. And as wonks, we talk to
policy makers on Capital Hill, activists, and everyday
citizens of these issues and their importance. When we do so, it seems
many are aware of the threat but unwilling or uninterested
in taking action. Or, just simply unaware
of their own agency when it comes to a topic as
intractable as nuclear weapons. So, while policy makers in
D.C. hold the legal power over U.S. nuclear weapons policy, they’re held accountable
through their constituents. Members of congress generally
want to get reelected, and because being stronger
on defense has become such a serious voting issue,
it’s often cited as a reason not to engage in nuclear force reduction. But what if we flipped that? Only a generation ago, nuclear disarmament was a voting issue and
politicians who didn’t support it faced a tough reelection campaign. However, the lack of public
awareness in recent years has led to virtually a blank
check for nuclear policy and a gap between the public
and policy has deepened over the years, but is not insurmountable. In 2018, my colleague Kate and I set out to start the long
process of closing this gap. We were new to the field and
eager to share our passion, wondering how we had stumbled
into an existential issue, one that we felt probably
should have come up once or twice in our education
before we arrived in D.C. (audience laughing) So, we looked to the next generation. And Gen Z has already proven
their investment and engagement with existential risk
through climate change, as has been talked about here today. And through public education,
we can make nuclear policy a pillar of this risk
conversation moving forward. But this requires conscience raising that transcends generations and maintains nuclear
accountability through time. So, through our project,
when we decided to start, we decided to start with Gen Z, and we met students where they were. So, we went to the classroom. And we wanted to target
a Manhattan Project site, and chose Richmond, Washington. Kate grew up there and we
thought a community built on nuclear weapons technology and one with the second-most
offensive mascot in America, it is a mushroom cloud, would have a stronger
foundation of nuclear history but we were wrong. Before the presentation began, we gave out a brief survey,
just nine questions, the basics of who has nuclear weapons, how many nuclear weapons, who
has suffered a nuclear attack. And through this, we found
24 different countries were listed as having
suffered a nuclear attack. 36 different countries were listed as having nuclear
weapons, including Africa. And in terms of numbers,
students put anywhere from zero to a million
nuclear weapons in the world. But one of the most common
answers was, too many. And we can work with that. Our Nuclear Weapons
101 provided the basics of nuclear weapons history and policy in plain English with no bias. Kate and I didn’t agree on everything, so that really grounded the
presentation on the facts. And we wanted to empower
students with information and allow them to make
their own conclusions. We found the students
to be incredibly engaged and concerned that no one
had really talked to them about this before. And honestly, students
asked the hardest questions. As part of my job with the
Center for Arms Control, we focus on educating members
of Congress and their staff on nuclear weapons policy,
yet high school students are often the ones to actually stump me. Because they don’t share
our basic assumptions, and they approach nuclear weapons policy in an incredibly different way, and they’re often more
interested in cooperation instead of domination. And one student asked
us why no one sanctioned the United States for
developing a nuclear weapon when we seem to sanction
everyone else for doing the same. We were consistently asked about a shield or a missile defense, and if
this shield was us shooting incoming nuclear weapons
with our own nuclear weapons, or if it was some sort of force field. And why didn’t we just nuke
North Korea once and for all? We worked through each of these questions, challenging students’
perception, and even our own, of what U.S. nuclear policy
is and what it should be. We found the next generation
eagerly asking questions and actively participating
while looking for a next step. The next step is key. Awareness and education are important, but tying it to action is
what’s going to create change. As policy makers and activists, we must consider how it is
we can involve students, teachers, and the general public in this traditionally exclusive debate. What can others do to use
their voice on this topic? Because not everyone’s gonna commit their whole life’s work to it. While seemingly mundane, letters and calls to representatives can make a difference, but we should also think bigger. We need to create a pipeline
and a path to action for the public, and this
can be done in several ways. First, we need to connect nuclear weapons and the nuclear weapons issue to personal definitions of security. Girl Security, where I
work, works to empower girls to participate in the
national security debate and redefine it for themselves. Women represent over half the population but constitute about one third of experts featured on panels on foreign policy. And our programs happen in
and outside the classroom, providing girls with frameworks to approach national security. Girls and women understand
security and vulnerability on a personal level from a very young age. By tying abstract policy
to personal security issues and focusing on the resilience of women, that they exhibit often in everyday life, students very quickly
grasped how personal security connects to their
community, and more largely, national security. Girls are aware of the
threats around them, voicing concerns that
if they register to vote they’ll be hacked by Russia, that if a nuclear weapon goes
off, what do we actually do? And, what can they do to
prevent a nuclear weapon from going off? There’s already a level
of public awareness and national security nuclear threats, there’s just no empowerment to action. And secondly, we need to
connect nuclear weapons issues to other issues that
young people care about and are already acting upon. This isn’t a new, novel idea. But a recent report focusing
on Millennials and war by the International
Community on the Red Cross found that 54% of Millennials
believe a nuclear attack is likely to happen
within the next decade. Which makes sense,
given the fire and fury, the skirmishes between India and Pakistan, and the unstable relationship with Iran. But somehow, with this
massive concern looming, nuclear weapons ranked as
the least concerning issue among the 12 issues
presented to Millennials. Corruption, unemployment,
and increasing poverty topped the list. On all across the globe, but
especially here in the U.S., young people are increasingly
taking to the street to march and vote in favor
of transformational action. And they’re doing this on
things like climate change, gun violence, social
justice, anti-corruption. And it may not seem immediately obvious but nuclear weapons touch,
and in fact exacerbate, all of these issues. So this is how you motivate young people to know and care about nukes, by educating them about the ways in which they touch the issues
they already care about and then there’s already action. Education is a critical part
of this conscious formation, and we must meet students
in the public where they are and connect to issues they
already know and understand. Girls and women are acutely aware of evolving security threats and their awareness
should be tied to action. Passion and drive for important policies like climate change and gun control can also cultivate
widespread nuclear action. As the recent report demonstrates,
awareness is not enough. Nuclear weapons are on the public radar but still appear out of reach. We must move beyond awareness
and towards empowerment in order to cultivate
accountability and change, and students deserve to be
treated for what they are: agents of change. And if we do that, we might
just move beyond deterrence. (papers rustling) (audience applauding) – Good afternoon. It’s a delight to be
here, and thank you Drew for organizing this, and Ruth and Anna for all of your work on this as well. And thank you Erin for what you just said. One of my most formative experiences was with Joan Kroc in San Diego when I was transitioning
from high school into college at Notre Dame, where she had just funded the Kroc Institute there, in collaboration with Father Hessburgh. She started a group in San Diego called Mothers Embracing Nuclear Disarmament, and we went to Balboa Park
with our mothers to advocate. And, I feel like she’s with us here today, and would be happy to hear
of your efforts, Erin. So, there is a handout going around. I’ve been asked to address
formation of conscience, and I’ve worked on a
chapter as part of a volume that Drew is editing. At the Vatican Conference in 2017, when Pope Francis issued his statement in which he condemned not
only the threat of use of nuclear weapons, but
also the possession, it raised a number of questions that I think we’ve been unpacking
in the last few sessions. And I was leaving that
conference with others asking, “Well, what
work is needed ethically “and theologically to
help form the consciences “of U.S. citizens regarding the possession “and use of nuclear weapons?” I think that people at that
conference from other countries were much more optimistic
than I felt leaving that, and in conversation with
other of my compatriots. We realized that it’s
a pretty daunting task, for all of the reasons
that we’ve heard today. So, on the handout that I’ve given you, I excerpted Gaudium et spes
16, and I think we’ve already referred to this as a
description of conscience. And, I’ll leave you to read that. But, the Catholic both
in do good and avoid evil is right at the heart of
what I hope to unpack today. And I’ve also given you
a little description of conscience, I think Richard Gula’s book “Reason Informed by Faith” is
a good source to consult here. And he says, “Conscience
is another word like sin, “often used but little understood. “It involves the capacity
to discern and choose “the morally right course of action “in a particular situation. “And in doing so, a person
brings to bear a lifelong process “of formation of conscience,
and each person has “the obligation to form
his or her conscience “as fully as possible and to follow it.” Because the human person is social, conscience and the
process of its formation are also socially situated. Adequate formation of
conscience on a given issue will entail several steps,
including seeking full and accurate information,
consultation of trusted persons with expertise relevant to the situation, consideration of the Church’s teaching found in scripture and tradition, drawing upon the wisdom of
personal and communal experience, and most importantly,
prayerful discernment of the movement of the
Holy Spirit as one seeks to apply guiding moral values
in a particular situation. So, as I anticipate
making a certain choice, I’m invited to ask, “Who
am I becoming as a person “in relationship to God? “Will this choice express the full freedom “and authenticity of the
person God created me to be, “as one made in God’s image?” Applying this general framework
of formation of conscience to the nuclear context involves unpacking several categories of
information for discernment. First, systemic considerations
are especially relevant for the formation of personal
and social conscience in the case of nuclear weapons, due to the particular
circumstances governing their development and production. And secondly, the highly toxic nature of fissile material requires awareness of the real risks of nuclear
waste and contamination, particularly in relation to
the most vulnerable members of the biotic community. Thirdly, nuclear weapons
pose a limit situations for humans’ relationship
with the rest of creation, drawing attention to the link
between genocide and ecocide. So, holding these three aspects
of nuclear weapons together, I think it’s possible to approach formation of personal
and social conscience through specific questions for personal and communal discernment with the support of the ecclesial community. So the first area I’d
like to address with you, the systemic aspect of nuclear weapons. In her seminal work on
secrecy, Sissela Bok notes that those working on
the Manhattan Project, some of the world’s greatest
scientists of the time, were not informed about the
scope and aim of their research, “Though they often guessed,” she writes. “They were asked to disguise
the nature of their work “in letters to friends and relatives, “or to talk in empty terms. “When looking for a site for the project, “townspeople were falsely
told that the project “had to do with the manufacture
of electric missiles. “Without feedback and debate
concerning their undertaking, “and without day-to-day contact
with the rest of the world, “the scientists were an easy
prey to complete absorption “in their task, and to
denying or rationalizing away “any doubts about their
own role,” unquote. Driven at least in part by the excitement and sense of power born of secrecy, they continued working on the project even after Germany’s
surrender in spring of 1945. By early 1944, what had
proved a highly motivating object of desire for many scientists, that is, developing nuclear
capability before Nazi Germany and keeping that technology
out of Germany’s control, had lost its power. Germany no longer posed
a threat in that regard. For others, the real
political aim of the race to build the atomic bomb
was to attain leverage over the Soviets. In March of 1945, General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, acknowledged as much in a
casual dinner conversation among colleagues at Los Alamos. For Joseph Rotblat, a
young Polish-born physicist present at the dining table that night, Groves’ aside proved decisive in shaping his own opposition to the project. At a time when Germany
could still have prevailed, quote, “Russian soldiers
were dying by the thousands “in order to defeat the
Germans, and Groves was speaking “of them as if they were the enemy, “more than the Germans,” unquote. Thereafter, Rotblat resigned
from the Manhattan Project on moral grounds. Later, in 1955, he would
coauthor a letter with Einstein and others to the general public opposing the nuclear arms race. Following Jacques Ellul,
Darrell Fasching writes of Oppenheimer’s assessment. Oppenheimer gave a speech at
Los Alamos in which he said, “If you’re a scientist you
can’t stop such a thing. “If you’re a scientist you
believe that it is good “to find out how the world works, “that it’s good to find
out what the realities are. “That it’s good to turn
over to human kind at large “the greatest possible
power to control the world “and to deal with it according “to its lights and values,” unquote. And, Fasching writes
of Oppenheimer’s view, “We call this the technical imperative. “If it can be done, it must be done.” So, when one of the
Manhattan Project scientists, Leo Ziller, tried to
get a letter of protest from the scientists to
Chicago, in Chicago, to President Truman, it
was effectively subverted for security reasons. “Technical experts were not supposed to “raise ethical questions about mass death. “They were supposed to follow orders “with unquestioning obedience,” unquote. For his part, Rotblat did not find Oppenheimer’s account persuasive, holding that the
scientists did indeed bear a moral responsibility
for their participation in the project. “The majority of scientists,” he recalled, “Were not bothered by moral scruples. “They were quite content
to leave it to others “to decide how their work
would be used,” unquote. An individual is simply one small part of a hierarchical order of decision making and performs a discreet
task directed towards a larger purpose that
remained obscure to him or her in a project like that
of the Manhattan Project. Fasching writes, “Such bureaucracies
neutralize our capacity “to be ethical by
separating ends and means. “Unlike my personal life where I choose “both what I shall do, the ends, “and how I shall accomplish it, the means, “in a bureaucracy, those
in authority higher up “are believed to be in the best position “to see the big picture
and choose those ends. “Those technical experts
lower down in the hierarchy “are simply expected to use
their knowledge and skill “to provide the means
for carrying out ends “chosen by others higher up, “with unquestioning obedience. “Not having chosen the
ends, one does not have to “feel responsible for
one’s actions,” unquote. Irving Laslow, a prominent
systems philosopher observes that, “When viewed systemically, “groups take on a sort of
personality of their own.” So you can think about corporations or even baseball teams. The proper functioning
of a system depends upon open channels of communication
among the interactive parts, allowing the group or entity
to make necessary adjustments in response to feedback. In social systems, theorist
Joanna Macy emphasizes, “Individual members must
make decisions for themselves “as part of the integrity of the whole. “In the case of the Manhattan Project, “Rotblat, along with Zillard,
demonstrated that they, “as individuals, stood in moral opposition “to the direction of the group’s efforts, “and they acted accordingly,
following their consciences.” And here, I think what Bill
Barbieri was saying earlier about moral ecology fits in very well. Within that larger systems’ view, how are people, moral agents,
subjects of human dignity exercising their consciences? For the proper functioning of the system, we need them to do that, right? And that’s part of the
larger systemic well-being that moral ecology refers to. In this case, the dominant cultural milieu of the Manhattan Project greased the skids for those who did not want to
take personal responsibility for their part in the whole effort. Rotblat’s own crystallization
of conscience, that is, the moment at that dinner table when he realized that what
Leslie Gross was saying (snaps) called him to
accept moral responsibility. That’s crystallization of conscience. That depended upon receiving,
almost by accident, key data about the real moral object of the work in which he participated, measured by the narrow end
of building atomic bombs, the means of secrecy served
the Manhattan Project well. However, measured by the moral health of the social system and its members, withholding such relevant information as the true object of their common work complicated the ethical task
for each person involved. So it’s like walking through quicksand, when you think about what
it must have been like for those scientists to
even ask the question, “What is my responsibility here.” Because the whole system, and
the momentum of that system was encouraging them not only
to not take responsibility but not even to ask those questions. That was seen as subversive. In effect, Rotblat was seen
as a national security threat once he left the Manhattan Project. So this particular example
highlights a formidable challenge in forming conscience with a view toward nuclear disarmament. In addition to the formation
of personal conscience, members of society will need
to attend to social conscience. How might communities
and institutions support proper formation of conscience
not only for individuals but also for the whole social group? For members of the military, scientific, and manufacturing
communities responsible for the production, maintenance,
and potential use of nuclear weapons, what ecclesial support might be necessary to help them resist the systemic pressures of
the technical imperative and undertake the difficult task of forming their consciences as fully as possible? And maybe we could add to that list, as we’ve been talking
about Catholic universities invested in the production and maintenance and manufacture of nuclear weapons. And for those more indirectly involved in the nuclear weapons industry, but no less responsible for
formation of conscience, how might the Church
encourage greater personal and communal awareness? In his 1961 farewell address,
President Eisenhower quote, “Warned against not only
unwarranted influence “by the military industrial complex, “but the danger that public policy itself “could become the captive of a scientific “technological elite.” “That warning has largely been ignored,” Stephanie Cook argues,
“Allowing a huge, secretive, “self-rationalizing system
to take on a life of its own “backed by history, money,
power, and a default conviction “in its own inevitability,” unquote. In Solicitudo rei socialis,
John Paul II talked about systems that seemed to
operate almost automatically and he used the language
of structures of sin to describe that, borrowing
from the Latin American bishops in doing that. I suggest to you that that
language is very relevant here. What does it look like when
we’re complicit in systems that seem to operate almost automatically, and yet we are moral agents. We are moral agents. So I think of taxpayers and investors who perhaps unwittingly
continue to finance the research, development, and assembly of nuclear weapons at
tremendous socio-economic and environmental cost. We’ve already heard from Archbishop Tomasi about estimates of ongoing nuclear buildup that we’re experiencing now. The Arms Control Association estimated that over the next 30 years the total cost of U.S. nuclear forces
would be somewhere between $1.25 trillion and $1.46
trillion, in then year dollars. Through the expansive reach
of transnational corporations, the nuclear weapons industry
is spread throughout the U.S. and across the globe by design. Every taxpayer, and likely most workers with 401K investments,
are complicit in some way. But I think few of us have ever… Sorry. Have ever actually
consciously examined that. Or have formed our
consciences sufficiently to realize that fact. So, I know we’re conscious of time here, so moving on to the second point, nuclear waste and contamination. I think another important facet
of formation of conscience regarding the nuclear weapons industry is the reality of its highly toxic waste. And here, I see industry on purpose, I think we need to think not
only about the production of weapons, but also so-called
peaceful nuclear ends. So, Fukushima would be a prominent example of what is potentially at stake. For all the scientific and
technological expertise required to develop nuclear weaponry, the waste disposal issue,
once receiving attention, has proved an even more
difficult challenge, involving prediction of
the behavior of long-lived fission products and fissile materials for tens of thousands of years, which is longer than
all of recorded history. I’m being given a signal
to start wrapping up. In the post-Cold War era, the U.S. has found itself poorly equipped to deal with nuclear waste. The National Academy of
Sciences has determined that two thirds of the
government sites involved in nuclear weapons production
will never be decontaminated. And so, they’ve actually
used the language of national sacrifice zones in places like the Oak Ridge Complex in Tennessee and the Hanford Reservation in Washington. They call them Infinity
Rooms and seal them off. This metaphorical
language of infinity rooms and national sacrifice zones
belies the actual consequences of the headlong pursuit of nuclear power, with very little thought given
to the longterm ramifications for material creation. The apocalyptic scenes
described by Pedro Arrupe and other survivors of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki portended further
sacrificial scapegoating. If it was possible to
obliterate whole cities in the name of geopolitical strategy, not just Hiroshima and
Nagasaki but also Tokyo, Dresden, and other
population areas before them, it was not a large leap to rationalize the sacrifice of the rest
of material creation. The earth itself and all its
inhabitants and ecosystems became a scapegoat for the
pursuit of what was thought to be the ultimate power, now
ostensibly under human control. And I have more regarding the
effect on indigenous peoples, I think that Marianne
pointed to that poignantly, and I would want to echo what she said. The last thing I would want to mention is the link between genocide and ecocide. Jonathan Shell observed that
the peril of human extinction in a nuclear holocaust is the middle term that links genocide and ecocide. The development of
nuclear weapons took root in a trend toward the
increasing destructive capacity of conventional weaponry
and concomitant disregard for non-combatant life as well as ideological rationalizations
for the extermination of whole peoples and cultures. Turning a blind eye has
also extended to the exponentially growing destructive effects of human activity on
the natural environment. Nuclear weapons development
prepared the way for a sort of inertial
acceptance of mass extermination, not just of the human species but also of the whole ecosphere. So, Shell writes, “In other words, “nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy, “which actually trade on
genocide for political purposes “called mutual assured
destruction threaten not just “individual people in
however large numbers, “but the order of
creation, natural and human “and this is something new,” unquote. The very relational
structures that bind together individual members of a
wide variety of systems, familial, social, political,
economic, cultural, and ecological, and
provide them the context for their existence is at stake. The magnitude of the
prospect of ecocide means that formation of conscience
regarding the possession and use of nuclear weapons
must involve communal and ecclesial structures of support that encourage dialogical exploration of these manifold strands
of interconnection. Woven into the very
fabric of God’s creation, reflecting the Trinitarian
interrelationship of God’s creation. And it’s something that
Pope Francis emphasized clearly in Laudato si. So, on the handout that I gave you, you’ll find there a potential guide for ongoing formation of conscience. I was thinking mainly
about the parish level as I developed those questions. It’s not at all exhaustive,
it’s a starting point. But as Drew was mentioning, and I was talking last night with Carol, there’s such a need at the parish level for this kind of work. And so, you have that before you, I don’t need to walk through that, but we can certainly talk about it. Thank you. (audience applauding) – Great, thank you for
these two great papers. The field of peace studies,
as many of us know, has helped to unpack this
notion of structural violence and structures of violence in relation to positive and negative peace. And I think Margie’s paper, but I think it was reflected in action with Erin’s paper here, speaks about the power of systems and the power of communities. And we have these systems or
these structures of violence, or maybe from a theological language, structures of sin that are
threatening the common good, threatening human dignity and
threatening life as we know it on this particular issue. It seems to me, though,
if we look at successful social action movements over time, social structures, structures of violence have really only been able to be overcome by other sorts of organizing, other types of systems,
other types of, you said, ecclesial support… Right? So I think a big challenge
for us going forward is how do we mobilize, how
do we capacity build, how do we support existing structures, like the very, very good structures that are represented in this room, Catholic Peace-Building Initiative, the Pax Christi, the Catholic
Non-Violence Initiative and other N.G.O.s here. And then, how do we talk to each other? So I think this space is
a really important space and I hope we can continue it, and thanks to Drew for this. If we look at the successful movements, earlier was mentioned
the Land Mine Campaign, but I think we can also add to that the Jubilee 2000 Campaign. Efforts were middle-ranged actors, to borrow language from
John Paul Lederach’s Peacebuilding Pyramid. The middle-range actors like N.G.O.s, civil society groups that
can have more of a play getting to parishes,
engaging young people, but also engaging systems
and positions of power. So I think a challenge
before us is how do we beef up our collaboration
and our coordination amongst ourselves going forward? And I see a lot of hope for this. So I have a question for Erin and then a question for Margie, here. So Erin, you mentioned
your organization, I think, is a great example of
young people taking action on this issue. And oftentimes, young people
are seen as the future of the Church, or the future of the world, but not quite the present. There’s often this language
like, “You’re the future.” But I think what is very frustrating, as a former activist and a former leader of an international youth N.G.O., one of the challenges
is that young people are disproportionately impacted by war. Either sent off as soldiers
or as victims of war. If you look at the number
of victims who are killed in warfare, young people
are disproportionately in that number. Yet the decisions that are
made are not young people, the people in decision-making structures. Within the U.N. system,
there has been a move in the last 20 years to
speak about the value of youth participation in decision making, but that hasn’t quite reached its way into this realm of disarmament. So I’m wondering if you
could just talk about why, give a case as to why young
people should be at the table. – Well, thank you for that. So, I think through my experience, I’m not sure how many of you have kids, I do not have children but
working with high school students is a humbling experience. Just because I think when
you have the next generation, whatever generation that may be and they challenge your own assumptions, I think it’s good to kind of have a gut check on your policy. And so, I think it is really
true that we talk about them in terms of they’re who
we need to activate, but also we need to recognize that they’re already doing quite a bit. And I think acknowledging
the agency and the power that they already have is quite important. And then, actually using that. Because we’re not giving them anything, it’s already there, and it’s
just trying to activate it. And so, I think in terms of
having them at the table with, Girl Security, we did a
simulation with high school and college girls on a North Korea event. And the way that they approached the issue is quite different and then
it’s interesting to see how they understand cooperation versus what the values are moving forward. And I think in disarmament,
we’ve really struggled to continue valuing
cooperation and transparency and what does that actually mean in the age of evolving technology? And I think the next generation,
or Gen Z, Millennials, are intimately familiar with
technology in ways we are not. I’m a Millennial and
I’m bad at technology, but there’s been a
really interesting study and I’m forgetting the name, but because they understand
how technology works quite differently and
they’re quite intimately familiar with it, it’s quite useful to have them at the table
when you’re trying to decide how to promote arms control, how to promote transparency
because they have some different ideas and
different approaches. And I think for a field that’s struggling to find areas of progress,
it’s something we should really consider broadening the scope of what we’re looking at. – Yes, several papers today talked about the need to think out of the box. – Right. – To experiment, and I
think some of that energy can come from that. Just to pick up on that for a minute, you had mentioned earlier
the issue of gun control and how that has mobilized
a lot of young people today. Do you see connections with
that and the nuclear issues? – (laughs) I once had someone
explain to me in a bar that nuclear disarmament and
gun control were the same. I don’t think they’re the same. I think that there are, in terms of when you look at the threat of gun control and nuclear weapons,
they are quite different, even though they are both arms. But I think in terms of the similarities that we should be
focusing on is the threat to personal security and the intolerance for that kind of threat to be so pervasive in the United States. And I think that there’s
just not that same level of acceptance in terms of
like, “Oh, we have to do this “for national security,” or, “It’s your right to have a gun, “the national security, we have to have “all these nuclear weapons.” I think the next generation
is really questioning the very foundations
of what we’ve assumed, and I think that will be
quite useful going forward. – Yeah, great, awesome. Question for Margie. Oh, do you wanna speak on that? Yeah, please. – I’m just tying in our earlier discussion about nonviolence. If we take seriously the 2017
World Day of Peace message, nonviolence, a style of politics
for peace as a way of life, I wonder if there might
be more room to connect advocacy around gun control and advocacy around nuclear disarmament, through the lens of asking, “Who are we becoming as a people?” And to the extent that our moral horizon is determined on the basis of fear, do we need to shift our moral horizon and envision the good, the better, what a world would look like
without nuclear weapons, what the United States would look like without guns totally out of control? Is there a similar impulse driving both the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the proliferation of arms,
particularly in this country? So, I think there’s more to explore there. – Excellent, excellent. We had mentioned, you
had mentioned Margie, but other people have
mentioned that Pope Francis has indicated that he wants
to add nuclear weapons to the catechism of the Catholic Church. He has done that already with questions on capital punishment. A lot of pushback from certain
sectors of the U.S. church on that issue, and I
assume we’ll also maybe see that conversation on this issue, if we can amend our catechisms,
at least the online version. But I think there’s some
good news and bad news on the question of the Catholic potential to mobilize people in the United States. So according to the Pew
Religious Landscape Survey, only 30% of self-identified Catholics, only 30% say that they turn to the Church or to their religion as a source, as the primary source for moral guidance on what is right and what is wrong. They go to other sources,
common sense and others. Now, we can think of
putting natural law aside, but if you look at
evangelicals and Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, the
number is in the 70%, 80%. So, it’s quite a big difference. But that’s maybe a bad
news or a challenge. But the good news is, that’s 30% of 70 something million people,
that’s still a sizeable amount, percentage of the U.S. population. And we have 17,000 schools
across the country, 200 something universities. So, how can we better use these networks, these institutions even, from
your experience at Notre Dame to get this word out and
to use the structures that we already have
without inventing new ones? – Yeah, thanks. And we haven’t even begun
to scratch the surface of what’s possible. I remember in my own formation, the Peace Pastor was coming out the year that I started as
a Freshman at Notre Dame. And we had policy makers and people from the Bishops Conference and Brian Herd coming to visit on a regular basis, unpacking that document. And for many of us who
were formed that way, it changed the rest of
our lives in terms of what we chose to do. So if there were that
kind of reinvigoration of moral imagination and leadership, that would make a big difference. But I also think it can
happen from the grassroots, from the ground up. And we’ve talked about that a little bit. I’m part of a Catholic Worker
community in South Bend and I think the Catholic
Worker Movement as a whole, especially in the United States
can be a powerful conduit for formation of conscience. I think, certainly
educational institutions, the network of Catholic
schools, K through 12 and then higher ed, is a
tremendous resource to be tapped. I take the critical point raised earlier about complicity there, I
think that’s a real question. If we were to address those
questions of complicity more forthrightly, what you
said a moment ago, Erin, about young people challenging. And to allow ourselves to say, “Gee, if somebody raises a question “that makes me wonder
about my own commitments, “maybe there’s something
there for me to discern. “Maybe that’s part of my own
formation of conscience.” I think our educational institutions need to do that as well. And I know Notre Dame
would be among those, to ask those sorts of questions. If that were to happen, I think
it would generate momentum because there’d be greater credibility. And credibility, I
think, is something that our ecclesial institutions
need to work on. – Yeah, that’s excellent. Yeah, and you mentioned
the Catholic Worker. I’d just do a quick push
as a member of the guild for Dorothy Day’s canonization, I think her narrative, her
witness can be very powerful going forward, so let’s all
pray to get those miracles so she can be made a saint these days. All right, so let’s
open up to conversation, because there’s some great, great ideas that have been boiling
up and really converging with the papers right now. But, I would love us to
think about where we can go after this conference. And especially if you
haven’t yet spoken today, we’d love to get some voices here. So please. Yes. So, we’ll take two questions
and then get response. – [Stephanie] I really
appreciate being here, my name is Stephanie Shaffer, I’m with the Center for
Pastoral Counseling of Virginia, I work as a marriage and family therapist and do hands-on skill
training in intercultural, interfaith, and interreligious dialogue and beyond us versus
them, beyond prejudice. And I’ve been thinking
today about the importance of the messages about
building relationship and involving the youth. And it reminds me of the
importance of the successes of citizen diplomacy and
how that builds good will and then allows the
governments to then dialogue. And it reminds me of a project
that was very successful in the ’80s, the late ’80s,
it was called Peace Child. And it took high school
Soviets and U.S. students and they worked on a play. And the play was about
children who went to the leaders of their country and said they wanted to live in
peace, they didn’t wanna die. And so they also spent
like a week together, they got to know each
other, and they would write part of a play about each others’ lives. They sang songs in English and Russian. There was about 500 performances
in the Soviet Union. And the Soviet kids weren’t
allowed to come out. But then finally, they did. So, they did some shows
here in the United States. And people in the Soviet Union cried, and so did the ones in the U.S. And they asked the Soviet leadership why did they let that group in when they didn’t let other groups in? And they said, “We liked the play.” So, I would love to see
a play involving youth about showing people how
we can end nuclear weapons on our planet, and make the
world safe for children. And so, that’s one thing I’d like to see, a lot of creativity. And I’m wondering if there’s,
what creative project you would like to see next. Our panelists. – Okay, another voice in the back. – [Scott] Scott Buran, I’m a
non-lethal weapons instructor for the Pennsylvania State
University and State College. I’m responsible for teaching
a non-lethal weapons elective at the various war college. Unfortunately, that has been
diminished significantly over the last year and a half. So, we’re not getting
out there like we used to for the last 15 years. And that’s very unfortunate, ’cause it’s now the
technologies from taser to millimeter-wave and
microwave technology, it’s the mindset. It’s about understanding provocation. And we’re losing that. So, actually, instead
of becoming less lethal, we’re becoming more lethal. Matter of fact, our former… I’m a marine veteran, I
have the utmost respect for General Mattis, our
former Secretary of Defense, and knew him as a professional colleague. But I think it was wrong about our military becoming more lethal. I think we have to understand the less than lethal technologies, the mindset involving
non-provocative acts, negotiation, etc., and
we’re not doing well there. I came here for a boost
of energy and I got it, especially from this panel. So thank you very much. (audience applauding) You talked about the
crystallization of conscience, this reawakening of conscience, which is absolutely essential. I would just like to
put out an invitation. This is a little bit
self-serving, self-promoting, but I have to say this ’cause you have motivated me to do this. We talked about what we can do. I’m part of a beginning of a major project in a little town called
Carlyle, Pennsylvania. And actually, it’s not so
little, it’s pretty significant. If you know anything about Carlyle, you’re probably familiar with Jim Thorpe, the home of the Indian Industrial School from 1879 to 1917. But it’s also the home of
the U.S. Army War College, a top-level school which
Richard Love knows well. It’s also the home of the
Peacekeeping Institute. It’s also the home of Dickinson College, a private liberal arts college, and the oldest law school in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State
University Dickinson Law School. So what we have done, in
concert with the War College, Dickinson College, and the Law School, we are sponsoring and
promoting a war, peace, and justice symposium,
a five-day symposium in the spring of next year. And this is through an application to the National Endowment for the Humanities, a grant titled The Dialogues
on the Experience of War. Regardless of being awarded the grant, we are going to execute. We have pledged funds right now. Five-day symposium, followed
up by monthly discussions on topics such as nuclear disarmament. But really everything about
the very nature of war. I would argue, even as
military professionals, we do not understand
the very nature of war, which is our profession. 19 years of conflict, we cannot solve this ’cause we don’t understand the
very nature of our business. And this is sad. And so, what we’re trying to
do is raise the consciousness of the community amongst
war, peace, and justice to get at these issues. And we have been blessed and graced by the commandant of the
War College, Margee Ensign, the president of Dickinson College, and Dean Daniel Conway, the dean, who have offered their
infrastructure gratis for this symposium. And we’re also working with
our local parish, as well. So this is a gift, and thank you, I needed this shot in the arm. ‘Cause I wasn’t sure if this was possible or even the right thing to do. But thank you, ’cause
it is about reawakening the moral conscience, and it’s gotta start with a community to
let our leadership know that we wanna be heard and listened to, and we’re part of this little triad. Thank you. (audience applauding) – So, creative. – Yeah, sure. So, it’s a really great
question about what creative opportunities there are moving forward. And I think something to keep in mind is it shouldn’t just be for the youth. We should do this
horizontally and vertically. And so, I know there are efforts within the nonproliferation space now, this organization called NSquare. And they’ve been doing
really interesting work trying to get this kind of
dialogue in other spaces, they’re connecting it with
artists, with filmmakers, with people who are
traditionally not involved in these conversations. And I think that will yield
really creative outcomes. And also, in regards to
people who are younger, I think we have to kind
of think bigger about, yes there’re social media campaigns, but also promoting some sort
of international dialogue and understanding. And so, promoting empathy and
really what security means to different people and
different countries, and understanding that your
security shouldn’t come at the expense of someone else’s. And I think redefining what
that means is really important. And so, facilitating those conversations and reconsidering what security is in light of things like nuclear
weapons and climate change but also just… I was never asked what
security was for myself. And so, I think having
a more Socratic method through education is really important. And I think allowing students
the freedom to explore what they think the assertions are and how they should be manifested will yield the most creative outcomes that I can’t fully think of right now. But I think having that
dialogue in the classroom and allowing more space,
opposed to the top down method of building that was mentioned to me was, we built nuclear weapons,
dropped them in Japan, then we had the Cold War and we won. And that was the whole thing. And so, I think having a
more nuanced conversation, and allowing people the
creative space to explore what that means is really important. And that will help yield bigger change. – Just a thought about
the creative aspect. I was in Chile during
the plebiscite campaign against Pinochet, the
last two years of Pinochet I was there. And leading up to the plebe
cite, every night on television the No Campaign had 15
minutes allotted to them on television. And the best artists and Madison
Avenue quality advertisers shaped that campaign, and
it was really powerful and inspiring so that
people dared to vote no to this dictator who had
been there for 17 years, brutal dictator, and managed
to overthrow him nonviolently. It was amazing. So when I think about what’s possible, I think, “You know what? “I was there for that,
we lived through that, “that actually happened.” And I tell my students that to stoke their moral imaginations to say, “What could it look like here? “There are lots of manifestations. “Imagine if we could get
artists and filmmakers onboard “to really put our attention,
our energy into this.” The energy that went into
developing the Manhattan Project, what if we could harness
that energy and redirect it. We can do it, right? We can do it. The other thing I would
say about the efforts that you’re doing in Pennsylvania, thank you for doing that. And it’s a great example
of the power of community, and when we’re faced
with structures of sin in which we find ourselves, we suddenly realize, “Oh,
am I complicit in this?” So, I begin to ask that question. One of the dynamics of social sin is that I can’t, if I’m in the midst of it, I’m morally blind to that. I actually need other
people in the community to help me see that. And that’s one reason why dialogue and communal discernment is so important. So, the more fora like this, and what you’re doing in
Pennsylvania, the better. And that can happen, as we
said, at many different levels, all the different systems that we’ve been talking about today. What if it were happening in
all of these different areas? – Great. So, we’ll take two more. Yes? And then… So starting… All right, why don’t we
start there, since the… Yeah, oh yes, okay, sorry, thanks. – [Jeremy] Hi, I’m Jeremy Faust, I’m a masters candidate at
the Middlebury Institute in Monterrey and I’m currently
completing a practicum at the Holy See Permanent
Observer Mission in New York, kind of on nuclear disarmament issues. And I’d like to ask the
panelists to kind of elaborate on how you address polarization, because I think that’s
kind of like a cloud that hangs over all of
us and it’s not just in the secular world,
it’s in the pews too. And how you can kind of
bridge across that gap. And in a similar way,
how media fragmentation, ’cause even if you make an artistic piece, how can you get it out to everyone when some people are only reading Fox News and some people are only reading MSNBC? What kind of strategies do you use to approach those challenges? – Wanna take it? – Yeah? So, Kim? – [Rose] Thank you. Rose Burger from Sojourner’s Magazine, and then also with the Catholic
Nonviolence Initiative. One piece that’s been
missing maybe overtly in our conversation, but I
feel it’s been there covertly or implicitly, is that as
Catholics in particular, we have an access to a sacramental power that we rarely engage in the service of the larger structural issues of sin out there in the world. (laughs) And so, I’m wondering, I’m
thinking very specifically of the King’s Bay Nuclear activists and the way that they brought
a sacramental liturgical power into a secular nuclear space and while they may have
spent some time in jail, I feel as if they won the day, in terms of the moral, ethical,
and spiritual arguments. And that is just one small example of a very radically different
way of engaging imagination that’s a little bit different
from vast social movements. But there’s a lot to be examined
in how the sacramental life that we have as Catholics
can engage the principalities and powers of nuclear weapons, which is the other way
that we win this battle. So, this question of how do we get to that moral imagination, that
sacramental imagination. I’m encouraged to hear more about that. I mean, one thing I wondered about is, people don’t get converted, necessarily, maybe in this context with many academics, we’re converted intellectually first, but most people are converted
experientially first, and then they try to figure
out what’s happening to them. So, do we need a nuclear trail of lament in the United States
where we take our students on a nuclear journey of nuclear history of the United States? What are the other ways
that people become converted at the front lines of the Detroit River where the old Revere, where a nuclear site just collapsed into the river,
over Thanksgiving? (laughs) So, what do we do to bring
students there to say, “What happened in this place? “What’s the deep history of this place?” And that that’s how you begin to open an imaginative conversation
that has ripple effects much larger than what we can control. – Well, the polarization question. You’d be amazed the bridges that get built washing dishes at our drop-in center at the Catholic Worker in South Bend. Dorothy Day has, I think, the
power of the works of mercy, as she envisioned it, is true. That no matter where
people find themselves on the political spectrum
in a very polarized society, beginning with the people
right in front of us in saying to each other,
“You are loved by God “and subject of dignity,” has
a tremendous bridging effect. And I think to get to
what you just said, Rose, there’s a sacramental quality to that. Certainly for Dorothy, but in
our Catholic Worker community that’s a very important element. We have a chapel in our drop-in center, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, and the work that happens there, I think we would all burn out quickly if it weren’t for that grounding. And I was remembering Dorothy’s… In 1976, the Eucharistic
Congress in Philadelphia, Dorothy gave a talk. That congress, that talk was on August 6th and she was appalled that
there was a mass honoring the military that day that said nothing about the bombing of Hiroshima. And in her talk she brought that together as a form of lament, liturgical lament. And think about the power of our liturgy to invite people into ritual lament as part of a personal
and communal examination of conscience. I have never heard that invitation in any of my Catholic
formation, my whole life. And why is that? Dorothy has been the only person to recommend that, or to
witness to that practice. So, I don’t mean to be
trite when I say this, but inviting people into practicing the works of mercy together, especially where there’s polarization, invite somebody to wash
dishes and see what happens. It’s powerful. And it’s baptismal. It reminds us of our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus. – Just building off of that, I think the questions
actually complement each other quite nicely, because going to Lederach’s, moral imagination, I
think the biggest takeaway from that for me was the web, and the web of relationships. And I think in order to
overcome polarization you have to be open to expanding your web. But I think we’ve gotten to the point where people only look
for what’s self-affirming and they don’t want to
challenge themselves, in a myriad of ways. But I think creating the
spaces for opening where people can step into that space
and create new relationships not based on their preconceived notions. And so, something that I
have found really effective is experiential learning. And so, we’ll do programs with girls on, we’ll have simulations, tabletop exercises and they’re playing roles
and they’re kind of working through these different ideas and notions in a way that’s a little
bit removed from themselves. And so, they’re able to
engage in it in a way that’s very constructive and
very open to other people. And I’ve found that to be really effective in building bridges and
even those who are generally unwilling to engage in
that sort of dialogue really step into it. And in terms of media and
making sure it’s accessed, I think that is a challenge but you also need to be aware
of who you’re targeting. And so, what’s terrifying and interesting is a lot of the next generation, if you ask where they get their news, they’ll say Snapchat. Which I didn’t know had news, but it does. (audience laughing) And that’s where they get it. And so, I think being aware of
who you’re trying to access, and I think that’s why
it’s so important to have so many different avenues of
accessible nuclear information. And so, there’s this street art in London and this little girl picking a flower that had a radioactive symbol on it. And that, it was a
really beautiful picture, but also deeply disturbing. And I think that’s a
really good way to access a certain group of people versus… Like, “Madame Secretary”
had a nuclear scare episode, and that also is a form
of accessing people and meeting them where they are. And I think all of that
is incredibly valuable, it just has to be tied
to this broader movement and sparking people to ask
those questions of themselves, I think, is really important. – If I may just say, because
I think your question is very significant,
that the Catholic Church, Catholics in the United
States lean almost evenly, slightly more Democratic than Republican, but in their political leanings. But increasingly, parishes
are becoming divided along the… You talk about the big sort. But we also see an ecclesial sort where there are not geographic parishes but ideological ones. In addition to the
sacraments and the Eucharist, I think something that
the Plasschaert Movement brings us to, brings attention to us, is scripture as a source. The powerful symbol of scripture. And that should be a unifying way, and I think many of us who
teach in undergraduate classes realize that many of our students, even if they’ve gone
through Catholic education all their lives haven’t
really quite engaged scripture in a way, and they say, what Archbishop Tomasi said yesterday, “Jesus said, ‘Put away your sword.'” What? Love your enemy? What? What does that mean? So, how do we get people
to read scripture, could be a unifying space for us. All right, we’ll take two more questions, that’ll be the last ones. Yes, sir. – [Eugustus] I’m Eugustus, and a professor at George Washington University. I’m an anthropologist. I’ve spent three decades
writing about nuclear culture, starting with a study of
nuclear weapons’ scientists in California in the 1980s. And I found that many of the
nuclear weapons’ scientists were very active Catholics. They went to church every Sunday. They considered themselves good Catholics. And they completely
bracketed the teachings of the Catholic Church from what they did in their working life. They bracketed off the Catholic
Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on war and peace. The think tanks where
nuclear weapons are discussed here in Washington, a
number of Catholics there. If you tried to question
the morality of deterrence, you would be laughed out of the room. You would have no space
in the conversation. Congress is full of
Catholic members of Congress who constantly vote more
money for nuclear weapons. The executive branch is full of Catholics who are making plans to
modernize nuclear weapons and upgrade the stockpile. So, my question has to do with how you make conscience bite. How you make people take
seriously, powerful people, take seriously the moral
teachings of the Catholic Church? Because at the moment,
they treat it as irrelevant to the real world that they live in. The decisions that they make
when they vote in Congress, when they work 9:00 to 5:00
every day on nuclear weapons, they’re governed by realism, and Catholic theology has
nothing to do with it. So, how do you change that? How does the leadership
of the Catholic Church make them take the teachings
of the Church seriously? – No, please. – You wanna go first? – Do you want to? (Erin murmuring) Okay. A couple of different
strands have come together in your question, I think. One is, earlier today
we were talking about the level of the heart and feeling. I think it was Alex Bird who talked about visiting Hiroshima and
being moved by the memory of what happened there,
and the collective memory. And then, the reaction of
the other people with her. I think there need to
be more opportunities where people can be moved at that level, not just this level,
particularly for people who spend a lot of time up here, right? And that’s an occupational hazard. How do you connect the head and the heart and the spirit, pastorally? And that ties in with what Drew was saying about pastoral accompaniment. It does not work to accuse
people and guilt them, but if we can bring
people into relationship in smaller groups, so if there
could be discernment groups at the parish level, in
which people were moved to the level of the heart. What really has happened
in the Navajo Nation with nuclear contamination from testing and then also from the
lack of a real option for waste disposal? As one example. There’s the possibility
of lament and ritual being connected there. And again, people together in small groups can reach each other,
can help each other see with the eyes of the heart, right? Not just these eyes, but
the eyes of the heart. And I think that’s the work
that really has to happen. And I’m convinced that it’s
going to have to happen at the grassroots level,
in these small groups. I’m not waiting for further instruction from people in the
hierarchy of the Church, although I’m eager and
tremendously thankful that Pope Francis and Archbishop Tomasi and others have spoken on this. We have a lot of work to do on the ground. And here in the U.S., and
frankly I think on this issue, the people in the pews
need to start that work and hope that the bishops
will follow us on that. – I completely agree with
your comments on that, and I think if we look
at the higher levels and you asked how do you
get the decision makers actually change their minds? I think you have to make it, you can no longer allow
that sort of disassociation that many scientists, policy makers have of what they’re doing versus
what they’re values are. Because many nuclear scientists I talk to will say, “Well, that’s just not my job,” in terms of the morality of it. And so, connecting what you’re doing with the actual implications, I think, is quite important, and
I think it goes back to the grassroots work but also
the web of relationships and preventing the other. Because the idea is that
you’re using deterrents to keep your people safe at
the expense of other people, but kind of highlighting
how it’s actually hurting your people and also you can’t just other populations like that. – So, in the Catholic tradition, it’s important to not just look at the sin that’s in the world and
the negative and the bad but also to see grace,
to see the goodness here. And I think we’ve seen
two great experiences, whether it’s the Catholic
Worker community in South Bend or the newer organizations, Girl Security where there’s goodness, right? So, how do we keep focusing on goodness and take this forward so we’re
not just sort of depressed and we go home and sleep all weekend? So, thank you for this great panel, please join me in thanking
these great two speakers, thank you. (audience applauding)

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