Bishop of Motherwell joins call for Trident to be scrapped

Bishop Toal is against the renewal of Trident
Bishop Toal is against the renewal of Trident

Bishop of Motherwell Joseph Toal is among a group of senior Catholics to question the renewal of Trident.

Bishop Toal, who is vice-president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, has put his name to a joint statement from eight Scottish bishops including Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh Leo Cushley from Uddingston and Bishop of Galloway William Nolan from Craigneuk.

They are calling on Britain to take “decisive and courageous steps” towards eliminating nuclear weapons.

The UK Government has recommended renewing the Trident fleet, based at Faslane on the River Clyde, and the House of Commons will vote on the matter next week.

The joint statement said: “The bishops of Scotland have for a long time pointed out the immorality of the use of strategic nuclear weapons due to the indiscriminate destruction of innocent human life that their use would cause.

“The renewal of Trident is questioned not just by those concerned with the morality of nuclear weapons themselves but also by those concerned about the use of scarce financial resources.

“Lives are being lost now because money that could be spent on the needy and the poor is tied up in nuclear arsenals.

“We endorse the words of Pope Francis: ‘Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations’.

“The United Kingdom, permanent member of the UN Security Council and declared nuclear power, signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968.

“That treaty binds signatories who do not have nuclear weapons not to acquire them, but it also binds those who do have nuclear weapons to work towards the disposing and elimination of all nuclear weapons.

“Britain should take more decisive and courageous steps to revive that aspect of the treaty and not seek to prolong the status quo.”

The statement was also signed by Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia, Bishop of Aberdeen Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Dunkeld Stephen Robson, Bishop of Paisley John Keenan, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles Brian McGee.