Bishops join in Extinction Rebellion protests amid arrests

Bishop Roger Morris at the Extinction Rebellion in Trafalgar Square

Bishops have joined protesters in London calling on the Government to do more to address climate change as arrests continued over the weekend.

The Bishop of Colchester, Roger Morris, visited the Extinction Rebellion protest in Trafalgar Square where he joined people in prayer and worship.

He then moved on to a protest outside Scotland Yard where he led protesters in a Eucharist.

He defended the disruption being caused, saying that it was necessary to speak up and act because of the severity of the threat posed by climate change.

"When our very existence is threatened by our insatiable exploitation of this precious earth, we have to speak up and we have to take action." he said.

"Already we have seen an unprecedented number of extreme weather events that have claimed many lives. These can no longer be described as natural disasters.

"We have created the conditions in which they occur and our silence and inaction allow them to continue to wreak havoc among the poorest and most vulnerable people on our planet.

"It is this sense of urgency that lies behind the non-violent direct action of the kind we are seeing in London and across the world. This is a wake-up call to the world. It is prophetic. So I thank God for Extinction Rebellion and I pray that their voice may be heard - for all our sakes."

He called his decision to join the protests was "an act of solidarity".

"Our worship - like all true worship - was an act of subversion and rebellion against the principalities and powers of our present age and a celebration of our shared hope and faith in God," he said.

Fr Martin Newell, a Catholic priest from the Passionist Order in Birmingham, was also at the Scotland Yard protest before being arrested by police when he attempted to glue himself to the ground in solidarity with disabled protesters following reports that police impounded ramps and wheelchairs to stop them from taking part.

He said: "I am here to help raise the alarm, to call for a profound ecological conversion. The life of God's creation is under threat, especially the lives of God's poor. I am here to help protect our common home, our mother, our sister which is among the most abused of our neighbours, as Pope Francis has said."

Last week, the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, also joined the Extinction Rebellion at Trafalgar Square where he read from Revelation.

Tweeting about it later, he said Christian protesters were "remembering our hope in Jesus in a dark time, standing in solidarity with those of all faiths and none who see the terrible urgency of our situation as a planet".