All who agree with this condemnation of wartime atrocity have reason to rejoice at the good news that, as of January 22nd of this year, the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has come into force. Although it has not been embraced by the world’s nuclear powers, who have indeed actively opposed its development and ratification, the treaty represents an important step toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. By banning “the development, production, storage, transportation, threat of use, and use of nuclear weapons, the treaty delegitimizes these weapons and makes them illegal under international law,” thereby pressuring them to eliminate their arsenals of mass destruction.
All Canadian peacemakers, including members the OFS, should know that Canada, along with other NATO nations, is refusing to join the TPNW, presumably because our federal government still endorses NATO’s long-standing but mistaken conviction that “nuclear weapons remain the supreme guarantee of the security of the Alliance.” As members of the Franciscan family called to be instruments of the peace of Christ, we should remind the leaders of our country that the only genuine guarantee of national security lies in a culture of peace built on the foundation of right relationship. We might also remind them that the vast resources now being devoted to maintain and modernize the world’s nuclear arsenals would be much better used to cultivate such relationship. Better yet, we might follow the example of Catholic peace activist John Dear by sharing with them the joyful hope that, with the coming into force of the TPNW, we have seen “the beginning of the end for nuclear weapons.”
By Paul Vanderham ofs
 “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” (“Gaudium et Spes”), 7 December 1965, 80.
 Jesus Christ, Peacemaker: A New Theology of Peace (New York: Orbis Books, 2014), 173.
 “NATO countries including Canada thwarting new nuclear weapons ban treaty,” Toronto Star, 28 January 2021 (https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/01/28/nato-countries-including-canada-thwarting-new-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty.html).
 Toronto Star, 28 January 2021, as above