Page 3, 14th May 1999

14th May 1999
Page 3
Page 3, 14th May 1999 — US priest criticises arms factory talks

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US priest criticises arms factory talks

By Antoine Lokongo

AN AMERICAN priest who campaigns against the arms trade last week criticised the Bishop of Lancaster, John Brewer, for considering a £1 million offer by British Aerospace in exchange for the Holy Family Church in Preston, Lancashire which it needs for the expansion of its weapons factory, calling the deal "a great scandal to the faith".

Fr Frank Cordaro, 43, said that the bishop has abdicated the non-violent character of Jesus to the militarism of the state.

He said: "We cannot be a Church that believes in life against death while at the same time endorsing the expansion of killing machinery. If we start from the premise that we need money, that is going to affect the way we act as Christians."

Fr Cordaro, who recently served six months in prison after a protest against nuclear weapons at a US air force base. said that the

Preston deal confirmed that the Church has not come to terms with the issues of killing and war and the diocese's acceptance of the offer clearly showed a lack of criticism toward an institution that covers up violence. "We are called to be faithful to the Gospel, not to national interests. We will not be called accountable for national securing interests when we meet our maker, but whether or not we have been faithful and true to the non-violent teaching of Jesus."

Fr Cordaro is in Britain to speak up for three Swedish non-violent activists who tried to disarm a Trident nuclear submarine at BarrowinFurness last September.

"I am hoping to be able to get the world understand that the Church supports people who take such courageous acts, and particularly to offer my support to Annika who is a Catholic and say that what she did is in the best tradition of the Church," Fr Cordaro said.

Fr Cordaro, from Des Moines, Iowa, left his parish of St Patrick's Church in Omaha almost 20 years ago, to protest "non-violently" against nuclear weapons in order "to make this planet a safer and disarmed place" and to campaign for the abolition of war.

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