The Catholic University of America

IPR Panel Symposium


When: Monday, April 26, 2010, 4:00 - 6:00 PM
Where: McGivney Hall Auditorium, Room 106, The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC


Archbishop Edwin Frederick O’Brien of Baltimore (formerly head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA)
Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, IPR Fellow and Associate Professor, Department of Politics, The Catholic University of America, and Fellow, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
General William Burns, Professor at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA, former U.S. arms negotiator, and a leader in the Global Zero movement
Dr. William Barbieri, IPR Fellow and Associate Professor, School of Theology and Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America,  and former faculty director of CUA Pax Christi group


The Catholic Church has long offered a prominent voice on the ethics of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, calling for:

  • deep reductions in nuclear arsenals, moving toward a world free of nuclear weapons;
  • no use of nuclear weapons and a no first use policy;
  • a comprehensive test ban treaty;
  • challenging the morality of nuclear deterrence policy;
  • the demilitarization of the U.S. foreign policy and the development of greater institutional capacities in peacebuilding.

The Obama Administration has announced its new nuclear weapons policy, which represents a significant shift from the policies of the previous administration. In addition, heads of state from 47 countries are meeting in Washington for a historic Nuclear Security Summit, working to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials in the next four years.

Among the issues that had to be taken into consideration, while developing the new nuclear policy, were:

  • whether or not the U.S. should adopt a "no first use" policy - a position the Catholic Church calls for, and that many other nuclear states have, yet that no previous US administration has assumed;
  • how low can the U.S. go in reducing its nuclear arsenal;
  • the time-frame for the Administration submiting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for ratification to the Senate;
  • what measures to take to strengthen the non-proliferation treaty, while recognizing the increased importance of the peaceful use of nuclear energy in combating global climate change;
  • how to expand the Cooperative Threat Reduction program beyond the legacy nuclear arsenals from the Soviet Union.

How will the Catholic Church assess the moral dimensions of these issues, as the new nuclear weapons policy is being set by the Obama Administration? 


VIDEO: The Ethics of the Obama Administration's Nuclear Weapons Policy: Catholic Perspectives


Additional Resources:


For additional information about the conference, and about attending the events, please contact the organizers,
Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love
Associate Professor, Department of Politics, The Catholic University of America
Ms. Woinishet Negash
IPR Office Manager
(202) 319-5999