Boffey, Philip M. "Scientists Urged by Pope to Say No to War Research," New York Times, 13
November 1983, pp. 1ff.
The Pope has spoken out against the warmaking machines of the Superpowers more than once.
On this occasion his instructions "...could cause anguish for some Roman Catholics and others
engaged in military research..." (p. 1) In his judgment, scientists ought not to participate in
"factories of death." He did stop short of urging all military researchers to quit their jobs but the
implication is there.
The central notion here is that of the "just war." Some bishops have taught that atomic war could
be justified and, therefore, working on atomic weapons could be considered moral. But the
notion of a just war is hard these days. Scientists are now warning of a nuclear winter and the
probability of the destruction of the human species; how does one justify that? Can there be a
"just" atomic war? The Pope also suggests that a "balance of terror" is not a justification for
atomic bomb construction. Here the Pope is saying that a nuclear deterrence arsenal is immoral.
Such weaponry may be considered a partial step on the way to peace; it cannot be considered a
goal in itself. If this kind of thinking could be made permanent, every policy maker since John
Foster Dulles could be shown to have been immoral.
Scientists are being advised by religionists that their lifework may be immoral.