THE Plowshares 8
[Fr. Carl Kabat at far left]
September 9, 1980: Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest, author and poet from New York City; Philip Berrigan, father and co-founder of Jonah House in Baltimore, MD; Dean Hammer, member of the Covenant Peace Community in New Haven, CT; Elmer Maas, musician and former college teacher from New York City; Carl Kabat, Oblate priest and missionary; Anne Montgomery, Religious of the Sacred Heart sister and teacher from New York City; Molly Rush, mother and founder of the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh and John Schuchardt, ex-marine, lawyer, father and member of Jonah House, entered the General Electric Nuclear Missile Re-entry Division in King of Prussia, PA where nose cones for the Mark 12A warheads were made.
They hammered on two nose cones, poured blood on documents and offered prayers for peace. They were arrested and initially charged with over ten different felony and misdemeanor counts. In February 1981, they underwent a jury trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania. During their trial they were denied a "justification defense" and could not present expert testimony. Due to the Court's suppression of individual testimony about the Mark 12A and U.S. nuclear war-fighting policies, four left the trial and returned to witness at G.E. They were re-arrested and returned to court. They were convicted by a jury of burglary, conspiracy and criminal mischief and sentenced to prison terms of five to ten years. They appealed and the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed their s. conviction in February 1984. The State of Pennsylvania then appealed that decision. Following a ruling in the fall of 1985 by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in favor of the State on certain issues (including the exclusion of the justification defense), the case was returned to the Superior Court Appeals Panel. In December of 1987, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania refused their appeal, but ordered a re-sentencing. This ruling, however, was appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In February 1989 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied a hearing of any further issues in the case, and on October 2, 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not hear the Plowshares Eight Appeal.
On April 10, 1990 the Plowshares Eight were resentenced by the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Norristown and, with neither the prosecutor nor G.E. making any recommendations or asking reparations, paroled for up to 23 and 1/2 months in consideration of time already served in prison. Judge James Buckingham listened attentively to statements by defendants, attorney Ramsey Clark, Dr. Robert J. Lifton, and Professors Richard Falk and Howard Zinn, placing the "crime" in the context of the common plight of humanity, international law, America’s long tradition of dissent, and the primacy of individual conscience over entrenched political system.
Father Carl Kabat OMI celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. His half-century of ministry as missionary, pastor, teacher and social activist inspires all who know him.
His religious community celebrated, his family celebrated, and finally his Catholic Worker family celebrated. The picture above is typical Catholic Worker liturgy... Joyful - loving - informal. Carl is our spiritual leader, our brother, our friend. He lives among us and he leads us in love of Jesus by word and example.
Carl Kabat, OMI 72; from St. Louis, Missouri; 47 years a Roman Catholic priest; worked as a missionary in the Philippines and Brazil; participated in the first plowshares/pruning hooks action in 1980 and the first Silo Pruning Hooks action in 1984 and other plowshares actions; served about 16 years in jails and prisons.
We are fools and clowns for God and humanity's sake. Over 2,500 American soldiers have died because of nuclear weapons in the past several years in Iraq . I remember Eisenhower who said that every weapon that is made is a theft from the poor. The only condemnation of Vatican II was that nuclear weapons are a crime against humanity and are to be condemned unreservedly. — Carl Kabat, OMI
and he figures to be in jail again by then.
In fact, he's headed to Colorado today
to commit a crime, the
same crime he's been committing for the last 25 years.
He intends to attack a missile silo.
He's a Roman Catholic priest involved in the
which is named after the passage from Isaiah:
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks."
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Aug. 3, 2009
"Anti-nukes priest here readies for next arrest"
by Bill McClellan
He intends to attack a missile silo. He's a Roman Catholic priest involved in the Plowshares movement, which is named after the passage from Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks."
He was resting Sunday, preparing for the long drive today. I visited him at a home owned by the Catholic Workers on the city's near north side. We sat at a picnic table in the backyard. He was wearing a green and white pullover shirt and a pair of tattered shorts. I asked if he ever wore his Roman collar.
"When I break the law," he said, and then he laughed. He seemed to be in a very good mood.
He was raised on a farm near Mount Vernon, Ill. He celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination a couple of weeks ago with a Mass at the picnic table in the backyard. He very seldom goes to a traditional church. Still, he remains in good standing with his order, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
In the early days of his priesthood, the order sent him to the Philippines and then to Brazil. He came back to this country in 1973 just as the Vietnam war was winding down and the peace movement was losing steam. Nevertheless, he found a niche — the anti-nuclear weapon movement.
With all the evils in the world, it's hard to pick one, he told me, but if this one doesn't get solved, it could mean the end of everything.
He also talked about the need for individuals to act before there is a nuclear holocaust. He said we can't ask God to stop this because God didn't start it. We started it, and we have to stop it, Kabat said.
He seemed serene about getting arrested again. How much time did he expect to get?
"Somewhere between 18 years and 15 months," he said, and he laughed.
He was given an 18-year sentence for taking a jackhammer to a silo in 1984 — the sentence was reduced on appeal and he did less than 10 years — and he was given a 15-month sentence in 2006 for attacking a silo in North Dakota.
Maybe the country is becoming more sympathetic toward your cause, I said. Speaking of change,
I asked if the election of Barack Obama seemed auspicious for the Plowshare folks.
He dug through some papers he had in front of him, found a newspaper article in which Obama
talked about the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. Kabat read it aloud, quoting Obama: "I am not naive. This goal of a nuclear-free world will not be reached quickly, perhaps not even in my lifetime."
I'll take one off-line."
Then Kabat looked up and smiled. "Basically, I want to help Obama. I'll take one off-line."
I asked if he expected to go to a minimum security prison camp, or a medium security federal prison. He shrugged, and said it didn't really matter. He said that in some ways, he got along better with poorer inmates. The more downtrodden, the more supportive they were of him,
He spoke almost wistfully of a stint he did in a Washington jail. He said that in a minimum security camp, the inmates tended to be better off. Crooked businessmen, he said. Right-wingers tended not to be sympathetic toward his ideas, he said.
I asked if he had seen "Dr. Strangelove."
No, he had not, he said. He didn't see many movies. He said he didn't seem to have the time.
"I have to get back to jail so I can get back to reading and writing," he said, and he laughed again.
He's been out of prison for almost two years. His last incarceration had to do with an attack on a silo in North Dakota, a state that has long fascinated him. He once told me that if North Dakota were to secede from the union, it would be the third greatest nuclear power in the world.
During his next attack, which he figures will take place on Thursday, he intends to wear a clown costume. He first wore a costume when he attacked a silo in North Dakota with a sledge hammer in 1994. That attack occurred on Good Friday, which was also April Fool's Day.
"Weare fools for God's sake," he said, and I must have looked mystified, because he then added that the quote came from the New Testament. He got five years for that attack.
Kabat is odd, but smart, and he knows that many people think it's silly to attack missile silos with sledgehammers, and to go to jail for doing so. Tilting at windmills might make more sense.
But he does it, he said, out of love.
"The opposite of love is not hate, it's apathy. I don't want to be apathetic," he said.
Short slide show of Fr Carl Kabat's 50th Anniversary Celebration at
the St Louis CW July 18, 2009
Carl entered the site at about 8:00 a.m. By 8:34 a.m. he had hung banners and had begun to symbolically disarm the missile. As of 8:57 a.m. the security forces were beginning to move in.
Fr Carl's statement to press
We are Fools and Clowns For The Holy One And Humanity's Sake
I Father Carl Kabat O.M.I. come to this evil place today as a Roman Catholic priest, of fifty years, to show what insanity is in the ground here and other silos in our beautiful country.
President Barack Obama has stated, "As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act...So today I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment and desire to seek the peace and serenity of a world without nuclear weapons."
The Roman Catholic Church, of which I am a priest, at the close of its Vatican Council II in 1965 condemned nuclear bombs as a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY and are to be condemned unreservedly.
The World Council of Churches has proclaimed that "the manufacture, deployment or use of nuclear bombs is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY"
I support President Barack Obama's desire and have attempted to do my little bit in his effort.
The nuclear bomb that is in the ground here is more than 20 times more powerful that the atomic bombs we dropped on the Japanese. Each of those bombs killed more than 100,000 people. At lest twenty times that number totals more than 2 million people.
The Bible says in the words of Isaiah "They shall beat their spears into pruning hooks and their swords into plowshares".
May the Holy One have mercy on us for not doing so.
Fr Carl Kabat O.M.I., the man who was arrested this morning at a Weld County Missile Silo.
Aug 6, 2009
Greeley CO Tribune
Priest arrested for breaching missile silo
A Roman Catholic priest was arrested this morning after cutting a hole in a fence in a Weld County missile silo and entering the facility.
Weld Sheriff deputies responded to a missile silo between Weld County Roads 86 and 88 along Weld County Road 113 at 8:50 this morning on report of a man trespassing.
There, they found a 75-year-old man inside the perimeter of the fence, and was arrested without incident.
The silo is one of 150 missile silos patrolled by security teams from Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne. All silos have sensors, which alert the base to someone's presence.
Warren authorities expected the breach after an article that ran in the Monday edition of the St. Louis Dispatch, stating Carl Kabat, a Roman Catholic priest, was planning the breach to cap off 25 years of nuclear protests.