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SLU Professor Meets Pope at Vatican Symposium

As Pope Francis and the Vatican consider the relationship between nuclear weapons and world peace, a Saint Louis University scholar was among those called to Rome to discuss the ethics of war and peace and the possibility of a nuclear-free world earlier this month.

Tobias Winright, Ph.D., meets Pope Francis

Tobias Winright, Ph.D., meets Pope Francis at a Vatican symposium in November. Photo by L'Osservatore Romano

Tobias Winright, Ph.D., Hubert Mäder Endowed Chair of Health Care Ethics, attended the "Prospects for a  World Free of Nuclear Weapons" symposium Nov. 10 and 11. Winright took part in the symposium as a moral theologian with expertise in the ethical questions posed by warfare among other international concerns. Winright joined scholars, theologians, diplomats, Nobel Prize laureates and officials from the United Nations and NATO at the Vatican event. Pope Francis addressed the gathering and Winright had the opportunity to meet him briefly.

Writing about the symposium in Sojourners, Winright noted that the pope’s forceful condemnation of the possession of nuclear arsenals presents ordinary Catholics with questions about the ways they may support the continued threat of nuclear war.

“This is where most of us Catholic U.S. citizens appear to be, by paying our taxes and going about our lives while our government and our military continue to possess and rely on nuclear weapons,” Winright wrote in the Nov. 15 article. “Our Church seems to challenge that we have proportionate reason to do so. For now, we appear to be morally culpable – but less so if we genuinely begin to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.”