News Analysis

Meanwhile: Papal veganism and politicians’ ashes

Last month, 12-year-old Genesis Butler urged the Pope to go vegan for Lent, promising, on behalf of the Million Dollar Vegan campaign, $1m to a charity of his choice. Now a Secretary of State official has replied in a letter which relays the Pope’s thanks.

“He appreciates the concerns about care for the world, our common home, which prompted you to write to him,” the letter read. “The Holy Father will remember you in his prayers, and he sends you his blessing.”

Butler said she was “truly humbled” to receive the Holy Father’s blessing: “It means more to me than I can ever express in words.”

She has asked if she might share a vegan lunch with the Pontiff during Lent.


Some Ash Wednesday crosses are more visible than others. For Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Patrick Grady, there was no hiding his Mass attendance. “I think the priests at Westminster Cathedral enjoy having a wide canvas to work with,” he tweeted.

Grady’s cross was later pictured, though slightly diminished, on BBC Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions.

In 2017 Grady’s SNP colleague Carol Monaghan was photographed with ash on her forehead at a select committee.