Early in the morning of Ash Wednesday, Fr. Martin Newell, a Passionist, and Ray Towey of Catholic Peace Network marked the wall of the Ministry of Defence with messages in charcoal .
Fr. Martin wrote, ‘Repent! Sign nukes ban treaty now ‘ and ‘God says No Trident’ before the police stopped him. Ray Towey started to draw a cross by the entrance before the police stopped him.
The pair were stopped and searched and then released. They joined Pax Christi later the same day for the yearly liturgy and witness against nuclear weapons.
Fr Martin commented, ‘ With Trump and North Korea it would be a bad year not to mark the Ministry of Defence. ‘
‘Some of us were at the Ministry of Defence here in London this morning, to continue the traditional ashing of foreheads with the marking of the ‘head’ of the UK military. The MoD is half of the UK equivalent of the Pentagon.’
The tradition of marking the building with charcoal is rooted in the Catholic tradition of marking foreheads with ashes, at the beginning of Lent.