Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Militarisation of the Church

On ANZAC Day, 25th April , Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane presided at a Memorial Mass for the public holiday.  

The Mass is attended by civic leaders for whom seats are reserved at the front and a military catafalque  party.  The  catafalque party  is traditionally mounted around the coffin to ensure the safety of the body while it lay in state. Its presence around the liturgical space during Eucharist is questionable and  a matter of concern in our Archdiocese.

The 2015 official video of the ANZAC Mass shows that the young men providing the catafalque party are not engaged in full and active participation  as their military  role precludes responding to prayers and joining in the common gestures. 

I have even made a point each year of approaching these young men to share the sign of peace. This year that invitation was led by  Deacon Gary Stone, a military chaplain. However, again the young men holding their weapons are not able to respond to my greeting as their hands were firmly gripping their weapons in the place of sanctuary.

In 2017 Australian film maker, David Bradury made another video about the ANZAC Mass which included a call by myself and Erin Kennedy for the  removal of the  weapons during the ANZAC Day liturgy.

This year, in the days leading up to ANZAC Day Jim and Franz Dowling of the Catholic Worker movement leafleted parishioners and visitors to the Cathedral also calling for a ban on guns in the Cathedral.

My images and photo reflection on the 2018 Mass.

If you share our concern about the presence of weapons in the Cathedral of St Stephen please voice your concerns here.

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