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Activists protest guns in churches on Anzac Day

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Protest: Jim Dowling (right) and his son Franz Dowling demonstrate outside St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane. Photo: Mark Bowling

A FATHER and son, members of the Catholic Worker movement, have demonstrated against soldiers carrying rifles in churches during Anzac Day commemorations.

Jim Dowling and his son Franz took their action to the steps of St Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane last week, where an Anzac Day service honoured the actions of military service men and women.

“There are soldiers with rifles at the front of the altar during Anzac Day Mass, and we don’t think guns should be allowed in churches,” Jim Dowling said.

He has written to Church authorities and said he has been told that the practice would not change.

“So we have stood here handing out leaflets to Mass-goers in the days leading up to Anzac Day, and very few people disagree with us,” Mr Dowling said.

“A lot of people were shocked to find that guns are taken inside the church, so we are hoping to change that tradition.”

Mr Dowling said his protest action was not an attack on the commemoration of Anzac Day – all he was asking was for guns to be left outside.

“We are not here to call for an end to memorial services,” he said.

“But it is wrong to take rifles inside a church, because it should be a place of peace.”

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