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Churches Launch Petition against Trident Replacement

Church leaders have united to launch a petition urging the Government not to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system. The Church of Scotland,Catho lic Church, and Episcopalians signed the petition at Holyrood. Support will now be gathered until September when it will be handed in at Westminster, where the final decision on replacing the nuclear deterrent will be taken. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will consider a report next week condemning the idea of renewing the missile programme as \"morally repugnant and an evil in the world\". Morag Mylne, Convener of the Church and Society Council, yesterday spoke of \"revulsion at the continued presence of weapons of mass destruction in Scotland\". She added: \"This is a matter about which the churches in Scotland are absolutely united. We are agreed that to replace Trident would be gravely wrong. Nuclear weapons are in themselves wrong.This is a good opportunity to say we don\'t need these weapons and the money which could be poured into them would be much better used elsewhere.\" Cardinal Keith O\'Brien said: \"The three principle churches in Scotland are united on this particular issue as never before on any other matter. It is a matter of life and death as far as we are concerned.The Catholic Church has clear and consistent teaching on nuclear weapons. The use of weapons of mass destruction would be a crime against God and against humanity that must never happen.\" He said the use of such weapons merited \"unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation\", and added: \"Equally, storing and accumulating such weapons, far from eliminating the causes of war, actually risks aggravating them.\" Nancy Adams, Convener of the Church and Society Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said: \"People are waking up to the fact they can actually make a difference, and if they speak out, hopefully the Government will listen.\" The petittion states: \"We urge the Government of the United Kingdom not to invest in a replacement for the Trident system and to begin now the process of decommissioning these weapons with the intention of diverting the sums spent on nuclear weaponry to programmes of aid and development.\" The Prime Minister recently said there had to be the fullest possible public debate on the issue, and this was seized on yesterday by the church leaders.Cardinal O\'Brien welcomed the announcement, saying that \"all people of good will in the country at this time\" would wish to see a full and proper debate. While launching the Petition at the Scottish Parliament was purely symbolic, its final version would be taken to London. \"We know the Scottish Parliament has already debated the issue,\" he said. \"When the Petition is completed it will be brought to Westminster, the Parliament responsible for this particular issue. \"We don\'t want a matter of this importance simply decided at Westminster. We want the views of all our people to be taken into account.\" Trident Petition