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Catholic Worker Anti-War Resistance at Northwood HQ on"Feast of Holy Innocents"

lcw | 30.12.2010 11:30 | Anti-militarism


Catholic Workers from St Francis House/ Oxford, Farmhouse/ Rickmansworth
and Giuseppe Conlon House/ London communities were joined by 20 anti-war activists, in solidarity with the imprisoned Pfc Bradley Manning,
and in resistance to the continued war on Afghanistan, at the gates of Northwood HQ/ London on Wednesday morning Dec 29th.


The participants marked the Catholic "Feast of the Holy Innocents" while seeing the contemporary victims of imperial power as those marked for death as "collateral damage" in wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. The British components of these wars are directed from Northwood HQ, located in leafy London suburbia!

Largely ignored by the more mainstream Britiish anti-war organisations, the central warfighting role of Northwood HQ and has been addressed consistently, in word and NVDA deed, over the past decade by the Catholic Worker movement. Resistance actions have also been undertaken recently by "Justice Not Vengeance" and in the late 90's by "Reclaim the Streets" In recent years, the cashed up military have responded to such nonviolent resistance by redesigning the entrance to the base and remodelling the "Northwood Headquarters" sign. A sign that that has been regularly "enhanced" over the years by Catholic Workers staining it with red paint - symbolic of the Iraqi and Afghani blood spilt as the result commands issued from Northwood HQ.

As a group of 20 gathered at Northwood tube station for a preliminary vigil and procession to the base, seven Catholic Workers arrived at the gates of Northwood. They were surprised to find the base sign had been removed in keeping with the military's growing awareness of the relationship between the liturgical calender and potential nonviolent resistance actions at the base! With the sign unavailable for redesign, the red paint was poured in the shape of a cross on the roadway leading into the base.

80 year old Quaker, former Britsh Army veteran and Palestinian solidarity (CPT) activist John Lyons, Sr. Susan Clarkson of the Oxford CW, London CW/ retired social worker Angela Broome, London CW/ college teacher Henrietta Cullinan, London CW/ musician David Turley and Bristol university student activist Tim Saunders took up position blockading the entrance to the base. Veteran Catholic Worker/Plowshares activist Ciaron O'Reilly wearing a photo of imprisoned U.S. Pfc Bradley Manning spontaneously scaled the base fence, slowly negotiated his way through the razor wire and leapt in to the base.

The resistance group was joined by 20 anti-war activists who had processed to the base form Northwood tube station. This group included a combat veteran of the Iraq/Iran war of the '80's, a U.S. Air Force veteran, a former Trident 2000 plowshare prisoner, members of the Catholic Worker movement, Justice not Vengeance, Trident Ploughshares, Christian CND. Speak, as well as English, Irish, Scottish, Australian, Iranian, Polish, U.S., Swedish, Dutch, Brazilian paricipants.

This larger group formed an expanded blockade of the entrance at the roadside of the entrance and for the next 90 minutes respectfully read the names of Afghan and British war dead.
* British war dead in Afghanistan
* A list of some Afghan war dead

They were joined in the "Presente!" response; after each fatality was read out, by the six blockading the gate. O'Reilly maintained an inaccessible position inside the fence of the base for the next 90 minutes conversing with police, the combat veteran solider deployed to block any further advancement into the base and support people. An attempt by Tim Saunders to enter the base was thwarted by police. Tim was arrested taken to a police van, questioned and release rejoining the blockade line at the gate.

After 90 minutes O'Reilly made a speech form within the base, read out the statement of faith and surrendered to the military. He was taken by a soldier to the police within the base questioned and searched. The blockaders collectively read out the statement of faith and concluded their blockade. After some negotiating with the police the demonstration temporarily withdrew and O'Reill was released. This was followed by a closing circle, transportation from the site to a debrief.


“We come here this morning, the day after the Feast of the Holy Innocents to remember, to repent, to pray and to act.

We remember the innocent children slaughtered by Herod in his pursuit of thethe child, Jesus. We also remember the innocent children slaughtered by Herod in his pursuit of the child, Jesus. We also remember all innocent victims of war, cynically defined by our government as "collateral damage", especially those in the current war on Afghanistan.

We repent the actions of our own government that have resulted in such deaths. We come in a spirit of repentance too for our own failure to live according to the teachings of Jesus, our friend and brother,"

We pray for all victims of war, civilian and military, and for those whose lives have been shattered by the violence in our world and by the policies of our government.”

We act by entering Northwood Headquarters and kneeling in prayer for an end to war and war-making. We are inspired by the nonviolent resistance emerging from within the British and U.S. miilitary. We celebrate the courage of Joe Glenton who went to a Colchester prison rather than re-deploy to Afghanistan. We pray for Private Bradley Manning presently imprisoned in the United States accused of exposing the massacre of children, parents and journalists by US forces in Iraq. We pray for the day when the skills and talents of the personnel on this base are used for peace
not destruction, and Government budgets are used for better things than
war. Our belief in nonviolent ways of enng conflict is rooted in Jesus' message oflove and non-violence that is proclaimed in his Gospel.

Angela H. Broome
Susan Clarkson
Henrietta Cullinan
John Lyons
Ciaron O'Reilly
Tim Saunders
David Turley


The action at Northwood HQ was preceed by a 36 hour "Faith and Resistance" retreat involving 30 people aged 6 months - 80, there were folks from @narchist, Anglican, Evangelical, "No Faith", Quaker, Muslim. "No Faith" and Roman Catholic traditions. There were Aussies, Brazilain, Dutch, English, Gringo, Iranian, Irish and Swedish participants. We include veterans of ANZUS (20th. anniversary this New Year's Day 2011!), Jabiluka, Jubilee 2000, Pitstop, Riverside plowshare and EDO 9 disarmament communities. Our number included veterans of the Brtiish Army, U.S. Air Force and a combat veteran of the Iraq/Iran war ogf the 1980's. Present were people nonviolent resisaters who have been incarcerated for peace & justice sake in Australia, England, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Palestine, Scotland and the United States. We included academics, catholic workers, gardeners, homeless & refugee shelter workers, journalists, mathematicians, nuns, parents, priests, professional musicians, social workers, solidarity activists (Palestine, East Timor), students, teachers & techies.

The schedule included check in & introductions, a theological presentation by Scott Albrecht of the CW Farm on the "Feast of Holy Innocents" and a political presentation by Gabriel Carlyle on the "War on Afghanistan".


If you couldn't be with us, but would like to financially support the gathering and nonviolent resistance you can send a cheque made out "London Catholic Worker" to
Ciaron O'Reilly "Faith & Resistance Retreat" c/- LCW 49 Mattison Rd. London N4 1BG

This would help to defray the costs of the gathering, provide transport to the gathering for some of our "time rich/ resource poor" participants, help finance our next "Faith & Resistance" rettreat in Lodnon during Easter season.


"Faith & Resistance" retreats come out of the Catholic Worker and faith based draft board raid movements of the Vetnam War period in the United States. As most people are aware, the Catholic Worker praxis is based on community building and the twin ministries of Christ - the acts of mercy and the nonviolent confrontation with the principalities, powers, governments and corporations that cause poverty, exploitation and death.

We see war preparations and making as the lynchpin in maintaining the global systems of exploItation that doom so many to homelessness, poverty, exile, early mortality and reduced to the status of "collateral damage" in the wars that sustain and expand empire. The Catholic Worker resists being boxed off as a mere charity, affirmed for its work with the homeless, it steps out to confront those who would prefer to patronise and co-opt us while continuing to cause homelessness and refugees on a massive scale. We refuse to be co-opted, "take the soup" - we choose to resist!

The Catholic Worker is quite miraculous considering how decentralised and inclusive involving people of varied and no faiths in its anti-war and homeless work. The CW movement remains coherent in word and praxis 30 years after the death of its founder Dorothy Day.

Sharon Nepstead in her recent work "Religion, War Resistance and the Plowshares Movement" (now free on the net ...)
..makes the observation is that it is the shared risk and praxis of solidarity through the many trials and jail sentences that has knitted and coalesced the Catholic Worker as a movement, beyond a series of atomised grouplets. This has been our experience in England ovet the past decade as our Oxford/St. Francis House, Farmhouse amd Giuseppe Conlon/ London gathered once more to pursue peace and justice collectively.

While we gathered in England others will be at silmilar F & R retreats in
..... in Washington DC

,,,,,,,,,,at STRATCom, Omaha, Nebraska

and at the Trident nuclear weapons base near Tacoma Washington USA

Our last "F & R" retreat in Oxford in Sept 2010 saw Sr. Susan Clarkson, Fr. Martin Newell and Chris Cole arrested cutting into Aldermaston (Nuclear) Weapons Establishment

Our next F & R retreat will be in London during the Easter 2011 season
...stay tuned

- Homepage: http://



30.12.2010 13:28

Activists kneel in prayer in front of the gates of Northwood
Activists kneel in prayer in front of the gates of Northwood

Ciaron climbs the fence, navigating razor wire
Ciaron climbs the fence, navigating razor wire

Ciaron inside the base, with photo of Bradley Manning
Ciaron inside the base, with photo of Bradley Manning

The prayer-blockade from the front
The prayer-blockade from the front

Coffin carried by the procession from Northwood Tube station
Coffin carried by the procession from Northwood Tube station

The procession arrives at Northwood, commence to read the names of the dead
The procession arrives at Northwood, commence to read the names of the dead

Victims of NATO bombing
Victims of NATO bombing

Another activist attempts to follow over the fence...
Another activist attempts to follow over the fence...

...and gets pulled down (but no arrest or caution)
...and gets pulled down (but no arrest or caution)

Reading the names of the dead...
Reading the names of the dead...

Final speech before handing himself in
Final speech before handing himself in

Armed soldier looks on
Armed soldier looks on

Ciaron released
Ciaron released

Photos of the event, courtesy of Marcin Gulbicki

- Homepage:

Pictures - 2nd lot

30.12.2010 13:49

Vigil outside of Northwood tube station
Vigil outside of Northwood tube station

Talking to a passer-by
Talking to a passer-by

Procession to the base
Procession to the base

Base sign removed - guess they knew we were coming!
Base sign removed - guess they knew we were coming!

Ciaron speaks after being released
Ciaron speaks after being released

Leaving the vigil...
Leaving the vigil...

Leaving the vigil...
Leaving the vigil...

Second batch of photos, courtesy of Miriam Johansson...
(as before, please credit if used)

- Homepage:

More pics

30.12.2010 14:44

Outside Northwood tube station
Outside Northwood tube station

Outside the base
Outside the base

Protester inside the fence
Protester inside the fence

All pics Copyright (c) 2010 D. Viesnik. They may be reproduced free of charge for non-commercial use if credited. For high resolution versions / commerical use, please e-mail.

mail e-mail: vd2012-imc [at]


Hide the following 16 comments

YOUTUBE (3.54): Ciaron O'Reilly speaks before arrest at Northwood HQ

30.12.2010 14:07

After compromising perimeter security at Northwood HQ/ London (command centre for all British forces deployed abroad), Ciaron O'Reilly reads the 'Statement of Faith' of the Feast of Innocents 2010 action. O'Reilly is wearing a photograph of Bradley Manning presently detained in military prison in the United States accused of the WikiLeaks release of footage of a U.S. helicopter gunship massacre of unarmed journalists, civilians and children in Iraq. The speech is made as the front gate to the base is blockaded by 6 other Catholic Workers. 20 more anti-war activists have gathered at the entrance to read the names of British and Afghani war dead. The speech is made just before O'Reilly is detained by the military and handed over to the police.

RAF Warrior Military Base, Northwood, Middlesex. U.K.

The Catholic Worker Farm
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

DEMOTIX SLIDESHOW - (Hi Quality Photos,Youtubes) -

31.12.2010 04:42

DEMOTIX SLIDESHOW - (Hi Quality Photos,Youtubes) - D29 Catholic Worker NV Anti-War Resistance at Northwood HQ, London in Solidarity with Bradley Manning


- Interview with Ciaron O'Reilly after release from custody (46 secs)
- Speech, reading of the statement by Ciaron O'Reilly while on base side of the periimiter fence preceeding surrender to the military. (3 mins 27 secs)
- Line of activists blockading the entrance to the base (57 secs)
- General footage including the reading of the names of Afghan and British war dead.
(1 min 41 secs)
- Footage of procession from Vigil at Northwood tube station to Northwood HQ (49 secs)

- Homepage:

Uxbridge Gazette coverage.....

31.12.2010 14:08

Protesters gather in Northwood to demand an end to Afghanistan war
Posted by Siba Matti on Dec 31, 10 01:05 PM in Northwood
ANTI-war demonstrators assembled outside Northwood Headquarters to demand an end to the current conflict in Afghanistan.
More than 20 members of the London Catholic Worker movement gathered at the gates of the NATO military base, in Sandy Lane, to hold a vigil and read out the names of the British soldiers and Afghan civilians who have perished in the war.
The peaceful protest, which took place on Wednesday (29), saw many carrying placards with anti-war slogans and images of those who have lost their lives.

Full article continued.......

Uxbridge Gazette


01.01.2011 05:04


- Interview with Ciaron O'Reilly after release from custody (46 secs)

- Speech, reading of the statement by Ciaron O'Reilly while on base
side of the periimiter fence preceeding surrender to the military. (3
mins 27 secs)

- Line of activists blockading the entrance to the base (57 secs)

- General footage including the reading of the names of Afghan and
British war dead.
(1 min 41 secs)

- Footage of procession from Vigil at Northwood tube station to
Northwood HQ (49 secs)


mmm, not really sure about this 'nice game' version of the Church of Rome...

01.01.2011 08:44

..satanic child abuse act. I think it would be better medicene to totally abandon the Catholic type moniker, and call our ('cos thats what it would become then) plowshares something like Real Jesus Plowshares, or even Pagan Plowshares, or like (in effect) Seeds of Hope Plowshares, Goddess Plowshares. But no. Lets 'carry on playing the game'...and thus half a dozen or token protestors instead of, potentially, foculising mass community awakening from the masonic satanic child abuse anti Mother Earth/occult/magic mechanism. My god you're an egoiser Ciaron. (sorry, tough love m8). And yes I have done at least one plowshare sabatarge direct action, before you react. The dieties/spirit guides allow you to make these 'nice game' versions of the truely evil bad karma masonic con trick blags, but I actually think that shouldn't be permmitted. Truth should should win. The truth is that the organised christian church is a totally evil anti magic (and the universe/s are made by auspcious magic) mechanism for control of the people.


(dieties are multidimensional, thus there is not 'one' Jesus Christ diety, but infinite)


Mr Onaygin

Truth to power!

01.01.2011 13:02

Thanks. Very inspiring. Happy New Year to all at the LCW!

mail e-mail:

The truth is...

01.01.2011 15:30

That the Catholic church is pure and total poisonous screaming ritual abuse con trick imitation version of any sort of real Jesus trip. Using the moniker 'Catholic workers' will sap power..and the group will always stay a minority clique of 'hippy wierdo's' type thing...and never ever ever become the community wide participating movement that it potentially could be, and that would result in closure of these evil war machine facilities, and also totally and completely change society in a truely amazing way.

In other words plowshares, get your medicene right!

Mr Onaygin

reply to "Mr Onaygin"

01.01.2011 19:12

'Catholic workers' will sap power..and the group will always stay a minority clique of 'hippy wierdo's' type thing"...and never ever ever become the community wide participating movement that it potentially could be, and that would result in closure of these evil war machine facilities, and also totally and completely change society in a truely amazing way.
In other words plowshares, get your medicene right! "

Mr Onaygin

Hard to decipher ya syntax mate, let alone ya prejudices?

1,000 leaflets went out in Peace News mail out...event co-sponsored by seculay JnV, I leafletted folks around Assange bail hearings....4-5 folks not connected to CW turn you want to blame the people who did turn up! Go figure?

10 years into the war and Brit anti-war organisations continue to ignore/ refuse to mention the command centre located on a tube line! Go figure?

Haven't got the time in the day to instruct the ignorant - you (altho it is one of the listed "acts of mercy" )

Haven't got the time to slice and dice the cowardlly - anonymous attack on an identified person, that would be you again dufus.

Just do some googling on the Catholic Worker, been going since 1933..resistance to WW2, wars on Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, nukes etc etc...that will solve ya ignorance proble.
Can't do much about ya cowardice, ya on ya own there, buddy!


I mean ''feast of the Holy innocents''

01.01.2011 20:24

Urgh! Yuk! Enough to put anyone off even a nice game type Jesus trip - a free range one totally devoid of any masonic ritual child abuse connotations whatsoever.


Its doesn't matter what your name is

PLEASE Cairon etc

01.01.2011 21:31

..please its time to grow up. The 'medicene' base where you are coming from as an individual or group of activists is important. The Catholic Church really is not good karma m8, and even if the Catholic Workers are consciously not part of the Church of Rome senario in any way other than a name connection, there is that blody name connection! Yuk!..and all that SERIOUS biblical stuff! yuk! Connection with Mother Goddess is what is needed post masonic ritual child abuse order. The masons are by the way the temple builders for the organised christian church - temple as in spiritual temple/religious construct. An ex partner who I pyscikally merged with after making love is a survivor - thats how I know its for real - We met the fear in her consciousness that was the ritual child abusers, together. Think man - all that anti 13/lunar/goddess type horror occult stuff with so called christianity...its a result of screaming anti occult ritual abuse, that is unprecidented, ultimate evil!

I say again, Catholic Workers are a 'nice game' version of this nightmare, BUT the power would be even greater I think by losing the Catholic moniker.

Also I would DEFINITLY say that when doing actions in Ireland, make sure all work is published in Gaelic as well as English. Its medicene m8! Maybe only getting 6/8 or so people at the action is caused by lack of power to break through to the mass of the turn caused by these sorts of factors.

...but yes OK CAIRON, GOOD FUKING ACTION. Now please Cairon, go and do something completely different from plowshare actions/lifestyle. Go travel to India and smoke charras at sacred sites or something (quite recommended). But dont go totally native on that one please. Your from Ireland buddy, The real religion of the country is old school celtic paganism/faery wicca. Thats so cool man, a really amazing thing that I've connected with for various reasons.


head bowed down in prayer (sick)

VID/REPORT- Feast of the Holy Innocents Retreat and Witness at STRATCOM, Omaha,

02.01.2011 05:12

The 32nd annual Feast of the Holy Innocents Retreat and Witness at
STRATCOM was a low key affair by an measurement, never breaking the
double digit mark until our closing ceremony on Tuesday Dec 28th when
11 folks showed up.

It began with a reading of the Gospel of Matthew's Christmas narrative
at noon on Monday, Dec 27th at the main gate of Offutt AFB in Bellevue
NE, just south of Omaha. Offutt is the home of STRATCOM. The most
dangerous place on the planet.

After the reading of Matthew's Christmas narrative we got in our cars
and re- gathered in the basement of St John's Church on the campus of
Creighton University. We spent the next 22 hours renewing old
friendships, building links of solidarity and community with
each-other, telling stories of Christmases passed and reflecting on
the meaning of it all - in our personal lives and in the nation we
live. Meals were prepared by folks at the Omaha CW. Mass was
celebrated by Fr Jim Murphy on Tuesday a.m. in the basement chapel at
St John's right before we headed out to the base.

After Mass we returned the the main entrance of Offutt AFB for our
annual presence.

It was a simple, poignant, very humble, seemingly unnoticed presence.
Given the reality of what takes place at Offutt and the mission of
STRATCOM - our efforts surely felt pathetic. Not much different from
the impression the first Christmas made on world scene.

Yankton CWer Mike Sprong began with reading Mathew's Christmas story,
than sharing how this years Feast of Holy Innocents Witness marked the
30th Anniversary of his first act of civil disobedience by his
crossing the line at Offutt in this very spot on Dec 28, 1980. Mike
said he was one of the youngest people gathered at Offutt in 1980. He
was also the youngest person gathered this year at the base....

The whole effort at the gate took no more than 20 minutes, most of
which was captured in the two below video links.

8 1/2 min Video - Mike Sprong reading the Mathew Christmas Text, than
sharing how this years Feast of Holy Innocents witness at Offutt
marked the 30th Anniversary of his first act of civil disobedience by
crossing the line at Offutt on Dec 28, 1980. This clips ends with Fr
Jim Murphy's brief comments. Video by Mark Welsch - NFP Omaha
coordinator. :!/video/video.php?v=490360528489

7 min Video - Elaine Wells, Dagmar Hoxzie, Denny Davis share briefly
and close witness with singing Christmas carols. Video by Mark Welsch
- NFP Omaha coordinator. :!/video/video.php?v=490371988489

Link to 7 photos taken by Mark Welsch - NFP Omaha coordinator.!/photo.php?fbid=10150093262494241&set=a.10150093262319241.268567.118178884240&pid=5668448&id=118178884240


Report on the Feast of the Holy Innocents Faith and Resistance Retreat in D.C.

02.01.2011 20:10

Over 50 people from the Atlantic Life Community, the Southern Life
Community, New Jerusalem Community in Philadelphia and other
peacemakers gathered at St. Stephen and the Incarnation church in
Washington, D.C. for the annual Holy Innocents Faith and Resistance
retreat to commemorate the slaughter of the Holy Innocents--past and
present. The retreat included several talks, time for prayer,
reflection and discussion, and three nonviolent actions at the centers
of military, economic and political power of the U.S. empire: the
Pentagon, the World Bank and IMF, and the White House.

On the evening of December 27, flu-stricken Liz McAlister gave a
powerful reflection on the history of the Pentagon and the role it has
played in producing weapons of mass murder and waging war since its

On December 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents, retreatants witnessed
at the Pentagon calling for an end to U.S. warmaking and the abolition
of all weapons. Several children made an appeal to the Pentagon to
stop bombing other children in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Steve Woolford, Beth Brockman and Joan Wages were arrested by Pentagon
police for trying to leaflet workers and later released with a March
18 court date. Later that morning the group viewed a moving
heart-wrenching video called "The End of Poverty."

On the evening of December 28, Ramsey Clark, world renowned human
rights lawyer and former U.S. Attorney General under President Johnson
from 1967-69, gave a compelling talk on the 20 year history of U.S.
military intervention in Iraq and the devastating impact U.S.
bombings, sanctions and occupation have had in the Iraqi people. He
spoke of the urgent need for people in the U.S. to take to the
streets, like the millions of people in Iran and Philippines did, to
nonviolently overthrow the Shah and Marcos, and demand justice and

On the morning of December 29, Eric LeCompte, executive director of
Jubilee USA, spoke about Jubilee USA's inspiring work to cancel the
debt imposed on poor countries by the World Bank and IMF. The group,
which included many children, then held at witness at four World Bank
and IMF sites. One of the recurring chants that was offered at each
site is "Debt is Death", a quote from Wahu Kaara, of the Kenya Debt
Relief Network. (See below the readings and prayer that was offered at
each site). In the evening there was a sharing about Ramsey's talk and
stories of hope-filled resistance to the U.S. massacre of Iraq. The
night ended with a children-led talent show which lifted everyone's

On December 30, retreatants had a concluding liturgy, during which
time we remembered the cloud of witnesses that have gone before us,
including those in our communities who have died. We then held a
nonviolent witness at the White House which focused on the words of
Martin Luther King, Jr.: "A nation that continues to spend more money
on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching
spiritual death." After processing to the White House five people
temporarily hung a long cloth graph on the White House fence showing
that the military budget is 59% of the total federal budget. Police
immediately threatened people with arrest if the graph wasn't removed
from the fence, so the five decided to stand on the ledge of the White
House fence holding the graph for the hour-long witness. Meanwhile,
the rest of the retreatants held another large cloth graph directly in
front of the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. showing the total
breakdown of the federal budget and facts about how money spent on
warmaking could instead be used to help people get health care,
receive affordable quality education, and alleviate poverty. Eight
speakers then addressed various aspects of the military and domestic
budget, including the $85 billion the Obama White House and Congress
plans to spend over the next ten years on upgrade the nuclear arsenal.
This was followed by children showing how the military budget could be
converted to meet urgent human needs. The witness and retreat
concluded with a closing circle as retreatants committed to working
for a world without weapons and war, where we care for our wounded
earth and environment, and help create the beloved community.

For more information, check the Jonah House web site - -

by Art Laffin
- Homepage:

Very inspiring

04.01.2011 12:37

Wonderful action and vigil everyone!

It's so amazing to see faith and action together! Very encouraging and inspiring!


In answer to attacks in this thread on Ciaron O'Reilly

04.01.2011 12:42

A couple of the above comments ( by Mr Onaygin and others) seem driven by vindictiveness, and miss the whole point of what this action was about.

Sure it was a bunch of Catholic Workers, but if you know anything about the CW movement you'll know that its ethic is not that of the traditional patriarchal 'bad old " Catholic establishment, But CW does hold onto the essential New Testament messages of love, faith, striving for justice, resisting the warmongers. And regularly that involves involvement with sympathetic priests to celebrate a mass, in preparation. More of a marshalling of resolve, courage and group solidarity than an arcane religious ceremny. After all you wouldn't deny Quaker resisters their quiet comtemplative gatherings as a way of preparing. Nor a Communist her focussing on some inspirational writings to remind herself what the issues are and why she's taking part.

So let's not shoot the messenger(s). And of course CW often takes the lead in resisting the war machine, But in this it's not being separatist. It just often acts before others have mustered the courage or organised themselves.

As it's shown over many decades, the CW will join with other groups ( religious or not) to wage the good fight, even if it does it in a self-styled way. PLease respect that for Catholics (and other Christians) a protest which includes biblical readings, the pouring of blood gives the protest more profound meaning, even if it doesn't for you. You would no doubt be pleased ( and grateful) that you're living ina pluralist society. So: Celebrate their courage ! The mere fact that they are there !

the CW and people like Ciaron are not your enemy, so why paint them as such ?

Simon Wells

A sight for sore eyes

05.01.2011 01:56

I was lucky enough to have known Ciaron quite well from 2004 until he left Ierland for projects in England. He actively supported many isolated projects and campaigns on the left with not an scintilla of proselytism - from Speaker's Square (Cearnóg na gCainteoirí) in Dublin, Laois and Cork, to to the Raytheon Nine solidarity in Derry. It's rare to find someone so outspoken, but even rarer to find such a person with refreshing insights and an eye for common purpose.

I've no time for the Catholic Church, but anti-Catholic means something else; for those hung up on the label, maybe they should try to tell the dancer from the dance.

an Atheist from Wexford

The first item..

05.01.2011 14:16

Brendan Behans (poet/ playwright/ Irish political prisoner/ ) is quoted as sating about every meeting of 'the left'....'First item on the agenda....the split..
Ciaron O Reilly has been a close friend of mine for several years, well used to being isolated by egomenichal politicos whos only involvement in issues concerning anti-capitalist activities is the profile they can garnish from it. In all my years knowing Ciaron ive never seen him benefit in any way other than what he may benefit in his own concience, being driven to act when silence is the prevailing theme in the face of oppression of the homeless...or the innocent in Iraq, Afghanistan and the military who were sent to kill these same people...
Im not here to defend him, Im not catholic,,,im atheist, i dont show defference, theres nothing to defend because all the accusations are baseless.... Seems to me that the mainstream press have the notion that if you repeat the lie enough it will become the truth...sounds like a witch hunt here here simply noting the grand stupidity of those who vilify from a distance.
Paul O Toole


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