(RNS) The U.S. Catholic bishops and other Christian groups are hailing the Senate’s ratification on Wednesday (Dec. 22) of a treaty with Russia that would reduce both countries’ nuclear arms by about 30 percent.
Despite some early objections from Republicans, the Senate approved the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) by a vote of 71 to 26. President Obama brokered the deal with Russia last April.

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., who chairs the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, commended the bi-partisan vote. “It was important that senators joined across party lines to support this treaty,” he said. The Vatican and U.S. bishops have long advocated for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The Two Futures Project, a group of Christians that also lobbies for nuclear arms reduction, called the vote an occasion for celebration. “This is one step in the right direction for nuclear security in our day … (and) it is a huge victory for American Christians, who overwhelmingly and vocally supported the treaty,” the group said.

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