Holy See at the UN: ‘Why are we selling arms to those who do harm?’


The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations highlights the dangers of the arms trade and urges against technological development without responsibility or conscience.

By Joseph Tulloch

Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the 77e Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

He spoke of the evils of the arms trade, saying that “shamefully, there are those who accumulate great wealth through the trafficking of instruments of death”.

In a second statement, he addressed the dangers of the misuse of communications technology, saying “our technical prowess has brought us to a crossroads.”

End the arms trade

Addressing the thematic discussion on conventional weapons, Archbishop Caccia reiterated the Holy See’s support for the various UN initiatives against the trade in small arms. Small arms “may be the so-called weapons of limited destruction”, he said, but every year they cause “hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world“.

The Archbishop also underlined the “deep link” between peace and integral human development. In 1967, the archbishop noted: “Pope Paul VI has declared that development is the new name for peace”, a call echoed in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which states that “it there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.”

He concluded by quoting Pope Francis: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Unfortunately, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is soaked in blood, often innocent blood.

Misuse of communication technologies

Bishop Caccia also addressed the thematic discussion on other disarmament measures and international security, choosing the misuse of communication technologies as the theme. While, he said, these technologies have the power to bring us together, it is also true that they can be used to do harm.

This abuse, he said, citing Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti, “stems in part from the fact that ‘our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development of human responsibility, values ​​and consciousness’. Humanity has thus “entered a new era in which our technical prowess has brought us to a crossroads”, offering us “both great promise and risk”.

Given this, the Archbishop offered three suggestions for the conduct of states in cyberspace.

First, he said, they must “respect the inherent dignity of every human person,” protecting their freedom of expression and privacy, within reason.

Second, states must protect the most vulnerable, both by protecting their own critical infrastructure – hospitals, water supply systems, power plants, etc. – and refraining from intentionally damaging those of other States.

Finally, Bishop Caccia said, states must be guided by justice and therefore, “the Holy See encourages capacity-building efforts for the benefit of states that do not have an equal share of the fruits of the digital revolution. “.


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