Brisbane war memorial vandal blames God and Pope

One of the four men accused of desecrating a Brisbane war memorial on Ash Wednesday used Pope Francis’s messages of peace to justify the removal of a brass sword from a stone crucifix.

In a police interview the day after the alleged desecration, Dowling admitted to removing the sword, and when asked whether he was authorised to do so he cited a “higher permission”.

The men are now on trial in Brisbane Magistrates Court.

According to a tweet from a news service, one of the four, James Dowling, says he and his friends “were influenced by Pope Francis’s peace message … where he said religion can never be used to justify war, and peace alone is holy”.

They used this reasoning when they decided to pull the sword down, he said.

News reports at the time say the sword was snapped in two when it was pulled away from the war memorial.

Dowling, who is self-represented, argued no damage was caused.

“It’s blasphemy to allow a sword to be placed on a Christian cross,” Dowling said in a police interview, which was played at the trial.

“We felt we were called by God to make a strong statement when we saw that blasphemy.”

The four accused left two documents beside the monument.

One was called ‘The Early Church on War” and the other, “Beat Swords into Ploughshares”.

“That was to explain what we had just done,” Dowling said in the police interview.

The court was told Dowling left his name and number at the bottom of the documents.


News category: World.

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