Thursday 18 September 2008

London Catholic Worker sent down for stand against war-making

Yesterday Fr. Martin Newell of The London Catholic Worker was sentenced to prison for wilfully refusing to pay a fine at Highbury and Islington Magistrates Court. He has been given seven days. Martin is said to be "in good spirits" and not surprised by the judges decision.

On Dec. 28th 2007, on the Feast of Holy Innocents, Catholic Workers Scott Albrecht, Sr. Susan Clarkson and Fr. Martin Newell poured red paint symbolising blood on the sign at Northwood Military Headquarters. Northwood is the "Nerve Centre" for all British wars. The three knelt in prayer with banners reading "We All Have Blood On Our Hands" and "War Shall Cease All Over The Earth". They were arrested, placed in jail and each charged with £315 worth of criminal damage.

When called back to court for refusing to pay his fine, Fr. Martin stated that he had acted according to his conscience and that he had hoped that the judge would act according to his. Martin had the opportunity to decry the illegal invasion of Iraq, but the judge said Martin's stance was a moral one. The judge claimed that the "law must be upheld despite belief".

The invasion of Iraq, according to most international lawyers and Kofi Annan, was illegal. It was premeditated by those who formed the Project for the New American Century (Google it). Sadly, presidential hopeful John McCain's two top advisers formed this 'think tank'. If McCain wins the prospect of staying in Iraq "for a hundred years" is real and the possibility of invading Iran will grow stronger still.

At least 832,962 people have been killed on all sides since the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Fr. Martin and the other Catholic Workers live with people from Iraq in their Houses of Hospitality. If 1% of those who marched against the war did non-violent direct action, the war might not have been executed.

If you wish to support Fr. Martin then you can email or write to:
The London Catholic Worker
14 Deal Street
E1 5SU.
For more information you can call Scott on 07983 477819

London Catholic Worker website: