War in Ukraine used to garner votes

It is not so long ago that former Governor General, Peter Cosgrove, as chief of the Australian Defence Forces led out our military into East Timor (1999), then Afghanistan (2001) and finally into Iraq, (2003). Peter Cosgrove would have known about the torture carried out by SAS in East Timor. Cosgrove knew the entire premise of the invasion of Iraq, that there were weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq presented an unacceptable risk to its neighbors, was a complete lie. Cosgrove would have known that the war the invasion, the killing, the destruction was based on a lie. He has not recoiled from that position at all. He still stands by his position. Four Corners and others have revealed the truth of the war crimes committed while Cosgrove was in command of the Australian military. Yet the Catholic church has named him as chancellor of the Australian Catholic University. Shame on them. We post these reports from Catholic workers in Brisbane, Jim Dowling and Sean O’Reilly. – Ian Curr, 1 May 2022.


Anzac Day 2022

Guns in the Cathedral – Lest we forget

Some of us couldn’t forget the blasphemy of raised rifles around he altar for one more year.

WE live in dark times. Politicians are using the war in Ukraine to gather votes. Peter Dutton made an announcement on Anzac Day that we must prepare for war with China.

Around the same time Putin warned of the possibility of nuclear wat if the West escalated their support for Ukraine.

St Stephens Cathedral, Brisbane / Meanjin Anzac Day 2022

Sean O’Reilly speaks outside St Stephens Cathedral Anzac day 2010

Where does the Christian church stand? It is divided, sadly. In Russia we have Archbishop Kirill, 100 % behind war, while at least one of his priests was charged for opposing it.

Jesus said to put away our swards, those who live by the sword will die by  the sword.

But for 1700 years we have supported the ”Just War “ theory. This theory declares  we can use the sword for the greater good. 

Every year in Brisbane the Catholic Archbishop offers mass on Anzac Day with 5 soldiers with rifles around the altar,

Was Jesus joking?  Do we need swords (guns), even in our most sacred liturgy of the Mass?

For a number of years now, a group of us have suggested to Archbishop Mark Coleridge that perhaps Jesus was not joking, and that we should not have guns surrounding the altar during mass.

In previous years we have leafletted masses in the week prior to Anzac day, asking people to support a campaign against guns in the Mass. We spoke to the Dean of the Cathedral, who while expressing sympathy for our cause felt his hands were tied.. Archbishop Mark refused to talk to us directly

This year we went to the Anzac Day mass. We stood outside the Cathedral for two hours, mostly in drizzling rain, with our Banner saying “No Guns in Churches”. We watched the five armed, young soldiers outside, as they prepared to process into the mass. The dignitaries arrived . The Governor General arrived in her Blue Rolles Royce, followed by the premier in her fancy car, and then some high ranking soldiers (Generals perhaps). 

We had given out a few leaflets and peace poppies, but a cordon of police made sure we could not give anything to the “important” people. 

After the mass the armed soldiers processed out followed by the celebrants dignitaries and others. Archbishop Mark, glanced at us quickly before greeting his more important guests. 

Quaker, Christine  Venner-Westaway was most inspiring in her boldness, walking right inside the side church door and greeting visitors with a smile and leaflet and peace poppy. Almost makes me want to put on shoes and have a shave😊.

Just before we set up at 7am, I bumped into Deacon Gary Stone, the interface of the church and military in Brisbane for decades (and my own often heated debating partner for nearly as long). We shook hands and had a friendly interchange about the weather.

Also approaching later, to say a friendly hello, at different times were the head sacristan, Alan, and the Dean of the Cathedral Anthony Mellor.

Where we go from here with this issue I am not sure. 

I opened my computer briefly last night, and there was Peter Dutton telling us all to prepare for war with China. 

Will the Church stand behind nuclear annihilation or oppose it? 

Tragically that is a real question of our time.

Finally I will leave you with some of the words for which the above mentioned Russian priest was charged. Could they not equally apply to all our own recent wars?

“Brothers and sisters! In the early morning of 24 February, Russian troops attacked Ukraine. There is shelling of Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities. Russian soldiers are killing their brothers and sisters in Christ. We Christians do not dare to stand aside when a brother kills a brother, a Christian kills a Christian. Let us not repeat the crimes of those who hailed Hitler’s action on 1 September 1939. We cannot shamefacedly close our eyes and call black white, [or] evil good, [or] say that Abel was probably wrong in provoking his older brother. The blood of the inhabitants of Ukraine will remain on the hands of not only the rulers of the Russian Federation and the soldiers who carry out this order. Their blood is on the hands of each of us who approved this war or who simply remained silent.”  The Rev. Ioann Burdin

Jim Dowling
Anzac Day 2022

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