Nuclear resisters Fr. Carl Kabat and Byron Clemens arrested inside Kansas City plant after red paint is poured on sign

Fr. Carl Kabat and Byron Clemens

from a report from Chrissy Kirchhoefer

As part of an annual “Interdependence Day” Plowshares Witness started in 2011, Fr. Carl Kabat, OMI returned to Kansas City on July 4 to take part in direct action at the Kansas City plant that produces 85% of the non-nuclear components of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. 

Along with Byron Clemens of St Louis, he entered the Kansas City National Security Campus, a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) facility operated by Honeywell. Undeterred by the heavy rain, the two men were able to quickly walk into the campus. Once inside, Kabat poured red paint on the main entrance sign “to illuminate the insanity of nuclear weapons from the past, potential in the future and present misguided priorities.”

He has repeatedly been a witness for peace to call for the elimination of nuclear weapons at the Kansas City plant. This year he employed a new tactic of an “underhand softball throw” to pour paint eight feet in height. 

The pair were detained on site for a few hours. The legend of Carl Kabat was present, with many of the NNSA employees stopping to say hello, even ones he had not previously met but who knew of him.

Both were charged with trespass, and Kabat also faces a destruction of property charge.

The priest and peacemaker made a statement at the Kansas City plant. “To follow Jesus and the Gospel,” Kabat said, “we must publicly and nonviolently resist evil.” Fr. Kabat follows the biblical words of Isaiah 2:4, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . May God have mercy on us for not doing so.” 

“They’re insane,” Kabat said, referring to the production of nuclear weapons, “Everyone says so – they need to be destroyed. They are dangerous and disregard future generations.” He believes he has a moral and ethical mandate as an Oblate priest to actively oppose production of nuclear weapons.

The last time Fr. Kabat was in jail for a July 4th action, the jail supervisor recognized him as a “super patriot”. Kabat stated on the day of this 2019 action that “Clemens graduated to super patriot status today.”
Fr. Kabat, age 85, received the blessing of his order – the Oblates of Mary Immaculate – to participate in this Interdependence Day action. He has taken part in multiple campaigns over the years to disarm the U.S. nuclear arsenal. On September 9, 1980, he was part of the Plowshares Eight, who attempted to disable nuclear missile nose cones. In another action in Missouri on November 12, 1984, he used a jackhammer to disarm a Minuteman missile silo. Kabat received an 18 year sentence for that Silo Pruning Hooks action, the longest sentence, up until that time, imposed for anti-nuclear civil disobedience. Cumulatively he has served more that 18 years in prison. He was most recently arrested in July 2017 at the Kansas City facility. In addition to his activism against nuclear weapons, Fr. Kabat has ministered to the poor and to immigrants. (Read more here.)
FR. KABAT IS MOVING
Please feel free to write Carl a note of support before July 15 at: 
Fr. Carl Kabat 
200 N. 60th St.
Belleville IL 62223

At this time Carl is scheduled to move to an Oblate run facility, Madonna House, in San Antonio, Texas on July 15. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers during this transition.

Fr. Kabat and Clemens enter the Kansas City plant