Clergy stop trains in climate change protest

Fr Martin Newell speaks from the roof of a train at Shadwell Station in London (Extinction Rebellion/Vladimir Morozov)

Christian clergy were among the protestors who disrupted London Underground services last week to push for action on climate change. Source: The Tablet.

Passionist Fr Martin Newell, 52, and Rev Sue Parfitt, a 77-year-old Anglican priest, both members of Christian Climate Action, the Christian arm of Extinction Rebellion, climbed on top of a train at Shadwell station, east of London city.

A third member of the group, Phil Kingston, aged 83, a former parole officer and also a Catholic, glued himself to the side of the train. He then knelt down on the station with two other members of the group and they held a prayer vigil.

Fr Newell said: “We are acting to raise the alarm in a spirit of repentance for our complicity in sins against God’s earth and God’s poor. Parliament has declared a climate emergency but environmental issues were virtually absent from the Queen’s speech. We need action not words.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said earlier this week that he was “particularly angry at those targeting the London Underground – which would be extremely dangerous and counterproductive”.

Mr Kingston, from Bristol, who was subsequently arrested, said: “I am doing this to ring the bell about the enormously dangerous situation our children and grandchildren are in … For our descendants, for the poorest peoples and Gods other-than-human creation, there is so much suffering happening – now destined to get worse without huge national and international response.”

In total, five members of the group were arrested.

Fr Newall has been arrested several times, including at London City Airport on October 10 and on October 13 during a nonviolent action at New Scotland Yard to protest the police confiscating equipment for disabled rebels.

“My actions with Extinction Rebellion this week have been an attempt to raise the alarm about the climate and environmental emergency," he said. "We have acted in a spirit of penance and repentance, aware of our own complicity in the environmental sins of our time … Pope Francis has called us to care for our common home, to protect the Earth which is our Mother and our neighbour who among those most abused and neglected. We cannot walk by on the other side.”

FULL STORY

Catholic and Anglican clergy join ER train protest (The Tablet)

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