Martin Newell (priest)

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Martin Newell CP (born 1967) is an English Roman Catholic priest, anti-war campaigner, social activist, and climate change protester. He has been involved with a number of high-profile anti-war protests, such as the Ploughshares, and climate movements such as Christian Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion. He has served several prison terms for his activism while remaining an active Roman Catholic priest of the Passionist congregation. He is a leading proponent of the Christian anarchist Catholic Worker Movement in the United Kingdom, being the ideator and founder of London Catholic Worker.

Biography[edit]

Martin John Newell was born in Walthamstow in 1967 into an English practising Catholic family.[1] After a BSc. degree in Economics he served with the Jesuit Refugee Service and then with the Ashram Community in Liverpool and the Simon Community in London. These experiences drew him to discover a religious vocation, and he studied for further degrees in Philosophy and Theology at St John's Seminary, Wonersh.[2] After ordination as a diocesan priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brentwood in 1997 he sought permission to join the semi-monastic Passionists and aimed to combine this lifestyle with anti-war and social activism in association with the Catholic Worker Movement.[3][4]

Activism[edit]

Fr. Martin Newell has been involved in a large number of high-profile anti-war protest actions including the Jubilee Ploughshares group which gained access to aircraft destined for East Timor and disabled them, causing damage in excess of one million pounds; he was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment for this action.[5][6] In recent years he has been a visible presence on Christian Climate Action protests and Extinction Rebellion events, being arrested on multiple occasions.[7][8] He has served prison terms in both HMP Bedford and HMP Belmarsh.[9]

Catholic Worker[edit]

Newell’s involvement with the international Catholic Worker Movement led to the founding of its UK incarnation, London Catholic Worker, in 2000, in cooperation with Simon Watson, Scott and Maria Albrecht, Angela Broome and others; later, the first resident 'house of hospitality' members consisted of Newell, Steve Barnes, and Eddie Jarvis.[10][11] Australian activist Ciaron O'Reilly later joined the community, and supporters included ex-SAS peace campaigner Ben Griffin and human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GRO Birth records 1967, https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?r=236426472:3576&d=bmd_1571680280 accessed 9 November 2019
  2. ^ 'Fr Martin Newell – Priest Protester' Alive Publishing https://www.alivepublishing.co.uk/2018/05/fr-martin-newell-priest-protester/ accessed 8 November 2019
  3. ^ Liz Dodd, 'The holy spirit of Extinction Rebellion,' The Tablet 2 May 2019, https://www.thetablet.co.uk/features/2/15888/the-holy-spirit-of-extinction-rebellion accessed 8 November 2019
  4. ^ Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, Christian Anarchism: a political commentary on the gospel, Imprint Academic, Exeter, 2011, pp 354-356
  5. ^ 'Passionist priest arrested after vandalism at climate change protest,' Catholic Herald 3 December 2015, https://catholicherald.co.uk/issues/december-4th-2015/passionist-priest-arrested-after-vandalism-at-climate-change-protest/ accessed 8 November 2019
  6. ^ Annette Belcher, 'Birmingham priest facing jail for non-payment of fines after arms fair protest' 1 March 2018, Birmingham Live https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-priest-facing-jail-non-14356626 accessed 8 November 2019
  7. ^ Ellen Teague and Ruth Gledhill, 'Catholic and Anglican clergy join ER train protest,' The Tablet 17 October 2019, ://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/12130/catholic-and-anglican-clergy-join-er-train-protest accessed 8 November 2019
  8. ^ BBC News, 'Five Charged over Extinction Rebellion Tube Protests,' 18 October 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-50095911 accessed 8 November 2019
  9. ^ 'Fr Martin Newell – Priest Protester' Alive Publishing https://www.alivepublishing.co.uk/2018/05/fr-martin-newell-priest-protester/ accessed 8 November 2019
  10. ^ Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, Christian Anarchism: a political commentary on the gospel, Imprint Academic, Exeter, 2011, pp 355-356, p 408ff
  11. ^ London Catholic Worker, https://londoncatholicworker.org/Christmas2007.pdf / https://londoncatholicworker.org/Easter08.pdf accessed 8 November 2019
  12. ^ London Catholic Worker, https://www.londoncatholicworker.org/Easter2011.pdf accessed 8 November 2019