Charges laid over war memorial protest

Cross vandalism

Charges have been laid against two men who confessed to vandalising a war memorial at Toowong in Brisbane, over what they said were its "blasphemous" overtones, the Brisbane Times reports

The attack on the Cross of Sacrifice, which has stood since 1924, has outraged Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and led to the Catholic Worker movement member Jim Dowling, 61, and a 30-year-old Greenslopes man being charged by police yesterday.

A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane said the Catholic Workers were a "group of lay people" with no ties to the Archdiocese.

"The Archdiocese supports any police investigation into this matter," he said "The cemeteries of Brisbane mean a lot to the families and friends of the deceased. These sites should be treated with the utmost respect."

The RSL, meanwhile, described the perpetrators as the "lowest of the low".

Mr Dowling's wife, Anne Rampa, defended the actions of her husband and the second man. Ms Rampa, who said she was present as the vandalism took place, said they chose Ash Wednesday to carry out the attack on the monument because it was the beginning of Lent, a time for Catholic reflection.

"We are very shocked by the presence of the sword on the cross, which is completely antithetical to what Jesus said," she said.

"It's really blasphemous to put it there, even though it's been there a long time.

"The guy who designed it was apparently trying not to glorify war, but he obviously hadn't read the gospels and didn't understand that putting a sword in the place of Jesus was an insult to Jesus."

The memorial honoured fallen Australian soldiers and the man credited as being the founder of Anzac Day, Canon David Garland.

In an emailed statement, sent to Fairfax Media along with photographs of the desecration on Wednesday night, Mr Dowling said he would "willingly accept any consequences of this call to repentance".

Police charged both men with one count each of wilful damage. They were due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on March 16. 


Religious fanatics charged over damage to Toowong war memorial


An image supplied to Fairfax Media of the cross being vandalised. (Brisbane Times).

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