03 March 2015, The Tablet

Bishops back blockade of nuclear weapons factory

Bishops have sent messages of support to campaigners blockading a nuclear weapons factory in Berkshire.

Bishop Thomas McMahon, the bishop emeritus of Brentwood, said the activists who are blocking the entrance to AWE Burghfield, which manufactures Trident warheads, reminded the world of “the madness and immortality of weapons of mass destruction”.

In a strongly worded statement circulated by the Catholic anti-war organisation Pax Christi, Bishop McMahon said repeatedly that the proliferation of nuclear weapons was “madness”. 

He went on to say that Christians had a responsibility to tell people that their use was a crime against God and humanity.

“In my view it is obscene to contemplate spending £100bn on replacing Trident when there are so many other pressing needs,” he said, and urged Catholics to lobby on this as a “strong prophetic voice” ahead of the General Election.

Since yesterday about 150 anti-war campaigners have blocked two entrances to the site.

The Anglican bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, said he prayed for the campaigners and said Christians were called to speak “clearly, calmly and powerfully for peace”.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, thanked them for echoing the “song of peace” sung by angels at Christ's birth. 

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