A New Mexico archbishop whose archdiocese is home to two major federal nuclear weapons research facilities and an Air Force base apologized for the atomic bombings of Japan and to Indigenous New Mexicans, uranium miners and scientists suffering from ill health related to the nuclear weapons industry.

Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe said the time has come for the world to fervently work to undertake the long process to achieve nuclear disarmament.

He made the comments in a homily during a Mass Aug. 9 marking the 77th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.

The atomic bomb blast over Nagasaki was the second in four days carried out by the U.S. military in 1945. The first use of an atomic bomb in war occurred Aug. 6, 1945, over Hiroshima, Japan. The twin bombings led to an estimated 214,000 deaths and led to the end of the World War II.

“I am sorrowful for the death, destruction and suffering (the bombs) caused, just as your government should be sorrowful for the death, destruction and suffering it caused during World War II,” Archbishop Wester said during the Mass livestreamed from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Albuquerque.

He called on American and Japanese people to “drive the international will to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.”

The appeal follows the January release of his pastoral letter, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament.” In it, he invited people in New Mexico in particular, but around the world as well to begin conversations on how to end the nuclear threat facing the planet.

Archbishop Wester said he believes the Santa Fe Archdiocese must lead the call for nuclear disarmament because it is where the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories are located. The labs conducts high-level weapons research and development….

The above comes from an August 12 story on the Catholic News Service.