US Franciscans join other religious to encourage President Obama to visit Hiroshima

The Provincial Ministers of the Franciscans (OFM) in the United States have joined their voices to a letter encouraging President Obama to visit Hiroshima on his upcoming visit to Japan.

May 9, 2016

Dear President Obama,

Your visit to Japan in a few weeks to attend the G-7 Summit presents an extremely important opportunity to address matters of urgent concern to the legacy of your Administration and to global peace and security.

Early in your Presidency (6 April 2009 in Prague), you inspired the world to believe that nuclear disarmament was possible.  “As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon,” you said, “the United States has a moral responsibility to act…So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

We urge you to visit Hiroshima while you are in Japan.  Allow the memories so painfully protected there to remind you of your own words in Prague: “Moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.” We pray that you will renew your 2009 commitment to nuclear disarmament at the site where the United States dropped an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, killing 140,000 people, and that you will make that commitment real by bold executive action during your remaining months in office.

Also, while you are in Japan, we plead with you to listen to the deep concerns of Japanese people, including the Japanese Catholic Bishops’ Conference, about the reinterpretation of Article 9 in the Japanese Constitution.  Article 9 has been the foundation for collective security in Asia Pacific, a region of critical and increasing importance to global peace and security. We believe that the revision of Article 9 could seriously destabilize the Asia-Pacific region.

On 11-13 April the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International hosted a Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace in Rome.  A strong recommendation from that landmark conference for increased focus on active nonviolence is generating an important search for alternatives to perpetual war in the Catholic community around the world.

Since the Japanese Constitution was ratified, Article 9 and Japan’s adherence to it have been both inspiration and motivation for people seeking alternatives to military action. For over half a century, Japan has demonstrated that a former military power could exercise its influence without resort to violence.  This is an example the global community needs today more than ever before!

Thank you for considering our request to make these extremely important issues subjects of your presentations and dialogue while you are in Japan.

In peace,

Franciscan Friars (OFM) Provincial Ministers of the United States:

  • David Gaa, OFM, St. Barbara Province
  • James Gannon, OFM, Assumption BVM Province
  • Kevin Mullen, OFM, Holy Name Province
  • Primo Piscitello, OFM, Immaculate Conception Province
  • Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, Our Lady of Guadalupe Province
  • Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM, St. John the Baptist Province
  • William Spencer, OFM, Sacred Heart Province
  • Louis Arceneaux, CM, Chair of Peace and Justice Committee, Western Province, Congregation of the Mission, USA
  • Fr. Nelson A. Belizario, O.Carm, Pastor, St Simon Stock – St Joseph, Bronx NY
  • Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
  • Tom Cordaro, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace, Chicago IL
  • Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network
  • Sister Patricia Chappell, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
  • Lawrence Couch, Director, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
  • Marie Dennis, Co-President, Pax Christi International
  • Sister M. Kathryn Dougherty, OSF, Congregational Minister, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
  • John Gehring, Catholic Program Director, Faith in Public Life
  • Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)
  • Christopher J. Hale, Executive Director, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
  • Gerry Lee, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • Yolanda Martinez, RGS, Coordinator/Administrator, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Dallas TX
  • Eli McCarthy, Director of Justice and Peace, Conference of Major Superiors of Men
  • Paul McCartin, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Coordinator, Region of Japan, Missionary Society of St Columban
  • T. Michael McNulty, SJ, Scholar in Residence, Marquette University Center for Peacemaking
  • Sr. Rosalyn Menard, Acting Province Leader, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, New York/Toronto Province
  • Miriam Eileen Murray, OSF, Chair The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia,
  • Jim Noonan, M.M., Maryknoll Society Justice and Peace, Maryknoll NY
  • Carol Pregno RGS, Province Leader, Central South US Province, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Carrollton Ohio
  • Ana Maria Quiroz Arango, Good Shepherd Sisters, Marietta, OH
  • Ann Scholz, SSND, Associate Director for Social Mission, Leadership Conference of Women Religious
  • Mark Schroeder, OFM, Animator, Franciscans for Justice
  • Amy Woolam Echeverria, International Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Coordinator, Missionary Society of St. Columban
  • Scott Wright, Director, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach