Catholic Website Calls Hiroshima a Sin and the Complaints Fly





We at the Register were startled by the number of angry letters — a few of them canceling subscriptions — that we received in response to Catherine and Michael Pakaluks’ column calling America’s use of the atomic bomb 60 years ago “Our National Sin.”

After all, the Church’s position on this matter is clear.

Pope Paul VI called America’s use of the atomic bomb “butchery of untold magnitude.” Pope John Paul II called it “a self-destruction of mankind” and named Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Auschwitz as places marked by man’s sin that should now be places of pilgrimage.

The Second Vatican Council condemned our nation’s use of the atomic bomb. The Catechism repeats its denunciation verbatim in No. 2314:

“Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.”

No matter how vicious the Japanese war tactics were, and they were cruel and brutal, America crossed a line we never should have crossed.

Though we were surprised at the intensity of readers’ response, we can understand the concern that many letters expressed. The Church’s condemnation of the bomb is severe and unsettling. It could seem that, by calling our use of the atomic bomb a “crime against God and man” and comparing Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Auschwitz, the Church is making America’s position in World War II the moral equivalent of our enemies’.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

American sacrifices in World War II are not in the least impugned by the judgment that our president was wrong to use of the atomic bomb. Without America’s contribution to the war, the world would be a very different, and much darker, place. Pope John Paul II himself said he was “personally grateful for what America did for the world in the darkest days of the 20th century.”...

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