Carol Monaghan is a MP representing Glasgow North West and a member of the Scottish National Party. She is a former Science teacher and she is a devoted Catholic.
Last Wednesday, before going to his parliamentary office, she went to Mass. Last Wednesday was not a normal Wednesday but Ash Wednesday when the priest applies ashes to the forehead of the believers, with the priestly reminder: “Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return”.
This ceremony prepares Catholics for six weeks of contrition leading up to Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
MP Monaghan says she got the unusual reaction when arrived in the Parliament, including people pointing out that she had a mark on her forehead, as reported by the BBC.
The MP said that she was asked “What was that on her forehead?”, when explained she was met with a blunt response: ‘But this is going to be broadcast’.
“I think they just thought I didn’t want to be embarrassed – but I was not going to rub it off,” she stated and she kept her ashes on the forehead.
“Many religions have visible symbols and Christians should not feel any embarrassment in either practising their religion or in the public display of religious symbols,” she declared to BBC.
The British media wrote a story on the cross on the forehead of Ms Monaghan titled: ‘MP Carol Monaghan “not embarrassed” about display of Christian faith’.
And BBC Politics official Facebook page posted a picture (on the left) of Monaghan wearing her ashes and asked its followers: ‘Was it appropriate for this MP to go to work with a cross on her forehead?’
The reactions were furious: Acting Bishop of London Pete Broadbent tweeted: ‘Is it appropriate for people working for @bbcpolitics to be so ignorant about the Christian faith that has shaped this country?’ while former Minister Ann Widdecombe wrote a column on The Express calling BBC question a ‘profound ignorance of the Christian life‘.