February 17, 2001
volume 12, no. 48

Cardinal Winning Refuses to Take Part in Anti-Nuclear Protest

    GLASGOW, Feb. 15, 01 ( - Scotland's Roman Cardinal Thomas Winning has today defended his decision not to take part in this week's blockade of the Faslane nuclear base.

    Cardinal Winning turned down the invitation from another religious leader to take part in Monday's mass demonstration saying that, while the Church was in favor of nuclear disarmament, she wished to distance herself from "civil disobedience."

    A spokesman for the Cardinal told the BBC that the Catholic Church had made her position on nuclear weapons very clear. "As far back as 1982, the Bishops of Scotland published a declaration which stated that 'if it is immoral to use nuclear weapons it is also immoral to threaten their use,'" he said. "We are on record in recent years, calling for the government to increase investment in our health service, 'spending less on defense of the realm and more on defense of the sick.'"

    The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev. Andrew McLellan, had asked Cardinal Winning to attend the demonstration.

    The Cardinal's spokesman said the Catholic Church did not want to be seen to condone civil disobedience in her fight against nuclear weapons. "We do, however, have misgivings about the methods of civil disobedience which are likely to be used during the protest and which our presence would appear to condone," he said. "The Catholic Church in Scotland has been very careful not to condone such acts by anti-abortion demonstrators, for example."

    More than 370 peace protesters, including 15 clergymen, were detained at the protest, which also saw Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan, Labour MP George Galloway, and Green MEP Caroline Lucas arrested.

    An ecumenical service of prayer, led by the moderator, was held outside the gates of the base as part of the demonstration.

February 17, 2001
volume 12, no. 48
News from the Universal Church
Return to Today's Issue