Bruce Kent

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Bruce Kent
Kent in 2016
Born(1929-06-22)22 June 1929
Died8 June 2022(2022-06-08) (aged 92)
Harringay, London, England
Alma materStonyhurst College
Brasenose College, Oxford
St Edmund's seminary
Known forCampaign for Nuclear Disarmament: Secretary General (1980–1985); Chairman (1977–1979 and 1987–1990)
Spouse
Valerie Flessati
(m. 1988)

Bruce Kent (22 June 1929 – 8 June 2022) was a British Roman Catholic priest who became a political activist in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and held various leadership positions in the organisation.

Early life[edit]

Born on 22 June 1929 in Blackheath, Southeast London,[1][2] Kent was the son of Molly (Marion) and Kenneth Kent.[3] He was educated in Canada before attending Stonyhurst College. He served as an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment from 1947 to 1949, and read Jurisprudence at Brasenose College, Oxford from 1949 to 1952. In 1952 he began a six-year course studying for the priesthood at St Edmund's seminary in Ware, Hertfordshire.[1]

Priesthood[edit]

In 1958, Kent was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest for the Diocese of Westminster and between 1958 and 1987 served in several London parishes, latterly becoming secretary to Cardinal John Heenan. Between 1966 and 1974 he was the Catholic chaplain to the University of London.[4] He was chairman of the charity War on Want from 1974 to 1976.[5][6]

In 1987, Kent retired from active ministry.[2][7] In 1992, he was a candidate for the Labour Party in the constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon, where he came third. Had he been elected, he would at the time have been prevented, as an ordained priest, from taking his seat in the House of Commons.[8] Sitting Member of Parliament and Conservative minister John Patten, also a Catholic, retained his seat.[9]

Activism[edit]

In 1960, Kent joined the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,[10] a specialist section of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).[11] He was CND's general secretary from 1980 to 1985 and its chair from 1987 to 1990, and later held the honorary title of vice-president.[12] In the 1980s he led resistance to the deployment of the BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missile at RAF Greenham Common.[13]

From 1985 to 1992, Kent succeeded Seán MacBride as president of the International Peace Bureau.[14] In 1997, he took part in the Musa Anter peace train to Diyarbakır, which aimed for a solution for the Kurdish-Turkish conflict.[15] In a ceremony held on 19 October 2019, Kent was honoured with its MacBride Peace Prize.[16]

Kent was a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.[17]

In April 2021 the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby awarded the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism jointly to Kent and to his wife Valerie Flessati "for exceptional, tireless and lifelong dedication to the Christian ecumenical search for peace, both individually and together."[18]

Among his heroes was Franz Jägerstätter, the Austrian farmer who was executed in 1943 for refusing to fight in Hitler's army. As recently as 15 May 2022, Kent took part in the annual ceremony in Tavistock Square, London, to honour conscientious objectors throughout the world.[19]

Personal life and death[edit]

Kent married Valerie Flessati on 4 July 1988 and lived in Harringay, North London.[1]

Kent died on 8 June 2022, at home, two weeks before his 93rd birthday.[20][21][22] At the time of his death Bruce was a Vice-President of CND, a Vice-President of Pax Christi, and Emeritus President of the Movement for the Abolition of War.[19][23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Bruce Kent obituary". The Times. 9 June 2022. Archived from the original on 10 June 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  2. ^ a b Stanford, Peter (9 June 2022). "Bruce Kent obituary". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 June 2022. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  3. ^ Kent, Bruce (1992). Undiscovered ends. HarperCollinsReligious. ISBN 9780002159968. Archived from the original on 11 June 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  4. ^ "Peace campaigner Bruce Kent has died". The Tablet. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  5. ^ "Bruce Kent". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 May 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  6. ^ Obituaries, Telegraph (9 June 2022). "Bruce Kent, Catholic priest and energetic leader of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament – obituary". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 June 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2022 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  7. ^ ARC Patrons Biographies Arms Reduction Coalition
  8. ^ "Hansard – 16 June 1999, col 394". Archived from the original on 28 January 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  9. ^ English Counties United Kingdom Election Results 1983–97
  10. ^ Kent, Bruce. "BRUCE KENT – Biographical information". Archived from the original on 20 April 2021. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Christian CND". Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
  12. ^ Veteran anti-nuclear campaigner gives city peace talk Archived 11 June 2022 at the Wayback Machine The Yorkshire Post, 1 July 2009
  13. ^ Vallely, Paul (17 June 2022). "Paul Vallely: Bruce Kent was a prophet who kept our eyes lifted". Church Times. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  14. ^ Kent, Bruce. "BRUCE KENT – PEACE WORK FOR OVER SIX DECADES". Archived from the original on 20 April 2021. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  15. ^ Clark, William (1997). "The Musa Anter peace train" (PDF). Variant (4): 12–17.
  16. ^ Teague, Ellen (15 October 2019). "Bruce Kent honoured with peace award". The Tablet. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Our Patrons: Bruce Kent". Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  18. ^ Williams, Hattie (11 June 2022). "Lambeth Awards recognise service to Church and community". Church Times. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  19. ^ a b "StackPath". www.indcatholicnews.com. 9 June 2022. Archived from the original on 17 June 2022. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  20. ^ Badshah, Nadeem (9 June 2022). "Bruce Kent: tributes paid as peace campaigner dies aged 92". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  21. ^ "Peace campaigner Bruce Kent has died". The Tablet. 9 June 2022. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  22. ^ "Movement for the Abolition of War - Facebook". www.facebook.com. MAW is very sad that Bruce Kent, our President Emeritus, died at home yesterday after a short illness. We will miss him so much
  23. ^ Thornton, Ed (11 June 2022). "Tributes paid to Bruce Kent, peace-campaigner". Church Times. Archived from the original on 10 June 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2022.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Chair of CND
1977–1979
Succeeded by
Preceded by General Secretary of CND
1979–1985
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of CND
1987–1990
Succeeded by