Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament

Forbidden 2

Started in 2014, the Project on Revitalizing Catholic Engagement on Nuclear Disarmament is focused on revitalizing and strengthening the voice of the Catholic community in the United States and beyond in the debate on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. Through various initiatives the project is empowering a new generation of Catholics: Church leaders, scholars, and students – to contribute to wider efforts to further reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons. The project has three main areas of focus: policy engagement, scholar engagement, and student engagement.

This Project is co-sponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame; the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, at Georgetown University; Institute for Polcy Research, The Catholic University of America; and the Catholic Peacebuilding Network. 

Select Publications

Additional Information

Additional research resources and documents

Student internships in nuclear disarmament


Forbidden: Receiving Pope Francis's Condemnation of Nuclear Weapons Launch Event
April 27, 2023

Pope Francis's Condemnation of Nuclear Weapons: Reflections and Responses
March 29, 2023

At a 2017 Vatican conference, Pope Francis condemned nuclear weapons. A new book co-edited by the late Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J., and Carole Sargent, Forbidden: Receiving Pope Francis's Condemnation of Nuclear Weapons (2023), grapples with how we should deal with the pope’s rejection of nuclear weapons today. This webinar drew on moral, religious, military, and political perspectives to address this urgent issue. The conversation was particularly intended to provide context for policymakers, military professionals, ordinary citizens, and church pastoral workers who assist them in making decisions on matters related to nuclear strategy and disarmament.

New and Old Wars, New and Old Challenges to Peace!
March 1, 2023

At the height of the Cold War, two seminal documents, Pacem in terris (1963) and The Challenge of Peace (1983), provided that moral compass. In a similar way, Pope Francis’ encyclicals and statements have ignited a new debate about the ethics of nonviolence, nuclear deterrence, and war. Are nonviolence and nuclear disarmament the new moral and policy imperatives or do today’s new and old challenges to peace reinforce the need for the just war tradition and strengthened nuclear deterrence?

On March 1, the 2022-23 University of Notre Dame Forum on War & Peace hosted Cardinal Robert McElroy to discuss these issues. The panel also included Major General (ret.) Robert Latiff, Mary Ellen O'Connell, A. Rashied Omar, and moderator Gerard F. Powers.

New Nukes and New Risks: The peril of nuclear weapons in an unstable world
October 26, 2022

This discussion among leading experts on nuclear weapons gauged the risks the world faces today and in particular what Catholic peacemaking efforts – led by Pope Francis – can do. The panel included Rose Gottemoeller, Ambassador Juan Manuel Gómez-Robledo, Maryann Cusimano Love, and Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations. The discussion was moderated by David Gibson, Director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University. Also see an article on the event in The National Catholic Reporter.

Catholic Peacebuilding in Times of Crisis: Hope for a Wounded World, Plenary Session 2: Ethics of Nonviolence, Peacebuilding, and War: Future Challenges
June 21, 2022

In Fratelli Tutti and other documents, Pope Francis has brought renewed attention to and debate about the ethics of nonviolence, peacebuilding, and war. In light of the encyclical and recent developments, from Ukraine and Afghanistan to Syria and Ethiopia, this moderated discussion considers the current state of the debate and future directions for Catholic teaching and action on war, nonviolence, and peace.

Pondering the Nuclear Posture Review After Ukraine
March 23, 2022

In this webinar, James McKeon of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Shannon Bugos of the Arms Control Association, and Maryann Cusimano Love of the Catholic University of America joined Georgetown University, Berkley Center Senior Fellow Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J., to explore the possible contours of the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review.

Student Webinar Series

The Nukes Next Door


Ukraine and the Nuclear Posture Review: Where Do We Go From Here?


North Korea and Denuclearization

The Legacy of George P. Schultz
December 7, 2021

This panel explored the legacy of Secretary Shultz especially with respect to his efforts to create the conditions necessary for a world without nuclear weapons. Panelists also discussed Shultz’s approach to diplomacy and statecraft with its commitment to long-term goals and pragmatic short-term engagement with adversaries, analyzing his ideas about a global commons and the need to manage threats to humanity through international mechanisms. Finally, the panelists identified lessons we can learn from Shultz’s achievements and shared their thoughts about the future of nuclear disarmament and the abolition campaign.

The Kroc Cast: Peace Studies Conversations, "A Conversation with Nickolas Roth of the Stimson Center"
October 12, 2021

Advancing Integral Disarmament in Times of Pandemic
March 23, 2021

The Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in collaboration with the Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP), hosted this webinar. It offered the international community and religious leaders concrete options to follow the path of integral disarmament and support the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, and in response to the encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

Creating a World Free of Nuclear Weapons: Developing the Next Generation of Specialists & Activists of the Catholic Community
January 11-14, 2021

This four evening, eight session seminar is part of a larger project to revitalize and strengthen the voice of the Catholic community in the United States and beyond in the debate on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. The project aims to empower a new generation of Catholics – Church leaders, scholars, and students – to contribute to wider efforts to further reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons.

Sessions 1-2

Sessions 3-4

Sessions 5-6

Sessions 7-8

A World Free from Nuclear Weapons: The Vatican Conference on Disarmament Launch Event
December 16, 2020

New START: Catholic-Evangelical Dialogue on Nuclear Disarmament
October 21, 2020

A Witness to Nuclear War: A Conversation with the Next Generation of Nuclear Abolitionists
October 6 , 2020

The Most Reverend Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, the Archbishop of Nagasaki and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, will engage students from various Catholic Universities in an informal conversation about his experience growing up in the aftermath of nuclear war, the work of the church to remove the threat of nuclear weapons, and the responsibilities for this generation.  

Are Nuclear Weapons an Absolute Evil?
October 5, 2020

Featuring The Most Reverend Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, Archbishop of Nagasaki and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan. During this virtual event, the Archbishop offered personal reflections on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as his perspective on the moral and policy challenges of pursuing a world free of nuclear weapons. 

Toward a Post-Nuclear Just Peace
September 1, 2020

In this conversation, Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J., co-editor of A World Free From Nuclear Weapons (2020), and Eli McCarthy, editor of A Just Peace Ethic Primer (2020), discussed the implications of Pope Francis' stance on nuclear disarmament and how a just peace might be pursued more faithfully, consistently, and effectively.

Catholics Commemorate 75 Years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki
August 3, 2020

This pre-recorded webcast features Most Reverend Mitsuaki Takami, archbishop of Nagasaki and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan; Most Reverend David Malloy, bishop of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois and chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, associate professor of international relations at the Catholic University of America.

The Pope and the Bomb: Beyond Deterrence
January 31, 2020

Pope Francis has condemned nuclear deterrence, ratified the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, and been a leader in the campaign for a world without nuclear weapons. In an address in Hiroshima November 24, 2019, he declared that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is today, more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings but against any possible future for our common home.” This workshop addressed the current state of nuclear geopolitics, alternative approaches to nuclear disarmament, and moral and pastoral implications of the Catholic Church’s evolving position on deterrence and nuclear disarmament.

The Kroc Cast: Peace Studies Conversations, Nuclear Disarmament and Pope Francis' Visit to Japan
November 21, 2019

Kroc Institute Director of Catholic Peacebuilding Studies Jerry Powers sits down to talk with Professor Maryann Cusimano Love and Professor Tobias Winright about nuclear disarmament, the Catholic church, and what to expect during Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in Japan from November 23 through 26.

The Kroc Cast: Peace Studies Conversations, The Past, Present, and Future of the Nuclear Disarmament Movement
September 3, 2019

Kroc Institute Director of Catholic Peacebuilding Studies Jerry Powers sits down to talk with Dr. James Muller, co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize winning organization International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and Professor Emeritus George Lopez about the history, present, and future of the movement toward nuclear disarmament.


Colloquium on US-European Approaches to Nuclear Disarmament 
May 24-25, 2016

From Nuclear Deterrence to Disarmament: Evolving Catholic Perspectives, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
June 1, 2015

In this timely and important discussion on nuclear weapons, Des Browne provides the broader policy context; Archbishop Auza presents the Holy See's position over the last 70 years; Father Hehir connects the policy debate and the moral debate; and Professor Love connects the nuclear debate to the wider debate about peacebuilding. Moderated by Gerard F. Powers.