Religion News Australia 2014 - 12 (April 12 - 20)

  (20 April 14)
  by Greg Spearritt

Religion News Australia

April 12 - 20, 2014

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)




abuse / catholic church / education / international stories / islam / politics / religion & society







Priest, 79, charged with historic child sex offences while serving at two parishes (ABC News)

Apr 14 - A 79-year-old priest has been charged with child sex offences dating back more than 30 years, when he served in two Perth parishes.


Also: Catholic apology: Priest, 79, admits historic child sex abuse on young girls (Perth Now)

Apr 15 - AN elderly Perth Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two young girls, dating back to 1969 and 1980.


Royal commission hears Salvation Army did not consider Major Colin Haggar a paedophile (ABC News)

Apr 15 - The Salvation Army did not consider a confessed child sex offender who was promoted through their ranks to be a paedophile, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has heard.


Also: Salvos deny officer was pedophile (Brisbane Times)

Apr 15 - A Salvation Army Officer who confessed to sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl is not a pedophile, while the Christian group once had no culture of investigation, a Royal Commission has been told.


Also: Salvos didn’t ‘twig’ to abuser’s past (The Australian)

Apr 15 - THE Salvation Army helped one of its officers apply to be allowed to work with children a decade after he first confessed to his superiors that he had sexually assaulted a young girl.


More sexual assault claims against paedophile priest Terrence Pidoto (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)

Apr 17 - NOTORIOUS paedophile priest Terrence Pidoto will be interviewed behind bars after a string of new alleged victims came forward accusing him of appalling new crimes.


Child safety officers to be appointed across Perth under Catholic Church plan (Perth Now)

Apr 20 - CHILD safety officers would be appointed in parishes across Perth under a proposal to eradicate sex abuse in the Catholic Church.





Melbourne's Father Bob Maguire turns to hip hop in bid to tackle homelessness (ABC News)  

Apr 20 - South Melbourne priest Father Bob Maguire may seem an unlikely hip hop star, but he has set his sights on the charts with a new album to help the homeless.





Aborigine ‘must go to Christian school’ (The Australian)

Apr 16 - AN Aboriginal boy has been ordered by a court to attend a private Christian school even though his own father fears its teachings are inconsistent with his Aboriginal beliefs and culture.


Elites open wallets in education 'arms race' (Sydney Morning Herald) 

Apr 20 - Sydney's top independent schools are outspending public schools by three to one as they invest in libraries, lecture theatres and gyms in a multimillion-dollar ''arms race'' to attract lucrative enrolments.





Catholic Church


Pope washes feet in Maundy Thursday mass (The Herald-Sun, Melbourne)

Apr 18 - POPE Francis has washed the feet of 12 elderly and disabled people - women and non-Catholics among them - in a pre-Easter ritual designed to show his willingness to serve others like a "slave".


Pope Francis leads call to spread faith as Christians gather in Jerusalem for Easter (ABC News)    

Apr 20 - Pope Francis has called on Catholics to bring the message of God "to the very ends of the Earth" during an Easter vigil mass in St Peter's Basilica.


Financial greed condemned as Pope Francis highlights plight of 'abandoned people' (ABC News)  

Apr 20 - The plight of immigrants, the poor, the sick, the elderly, unemployed and prisoners has dominated Pope Francis's Good Friday service at Rome's Colosseum, as he led Catholics around the world in commemorating the day Jesus died.


Bring faith to 'ends of the earth': Pope  (The West Australian)

Apr 20 - Pope Francis has baptised 10 people and urged them to bring their faith "to the ends of the earth" as he presided over an Easter Vigil in St Peter's Basilica.




New York police disband unit that spied on Muslims (ABC News)

Apr 17 - New York police say they have disbanded a deeply controversial and heavily criticised unit that sent undercover officers to spy on local Muslims.


Religious Violence


Memory of religious riots mars Indian election campaign (The Australian)

Apr 14 - FIRST they set the mosque on fire, then the Hindu mob came baying for the blood of terrified Muslim families cowering in their homes.


Australian faces jail for coverage of same story that won Reuters a Pulitzer prize (The Age, Melbourne)

Apr 15 - Bangkok: Reuters' international news agency has a won Pulitzer prize for exposing the violent persecution of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority while an Australian journalist and his Thai colleague face jail for their coverage of the same story.


Elderly white supremacist murders three in Kansas (The Australian)

Apr 15 - AN elderly Ku Klux Klan member shot three people dead — including a man and grandson — yesterday at a Jewish community centre and a retirement home in Kansas.


Also: Former Ku Klux Klan leader charged with hate crimes for Passover Eve killings (Sydney Morning Herald)  

Apr 16 - The 73-year-old man accused of going on a deadly shooting spree Sunday at two Jewish facilities in a Kansas City suburb was identified by an activist organisation that tracks racist activities as a former "grand dragon” of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Three people died in the shootings.


Boston Marathon bombing: ceremonies mark anniversary of deadly attacks (ABC News)

Apr 16 - Solemn ceremonies have been held to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured more than 260.


Suspected Islamic extremists abduct over 100 female students from Nigerian school (Sydney Morning Herald)  

Apr 16 - Maiduguri, Nigeria: Suspected Islamic extremists abducted over 100 female students from a school in northeast Nigeria before dawn on Tuesday, but some of the teens managed to escape from the back of an open truck, officials said. 


Six killed in PNG sorcery attack (ABC News)

Apr 16 - Police in Papua New Guinea have detained 180 people after a witch hunt that left six people dead, including two children.




Fiji's Methodist Church tells members to keep politics and religion separate (ABC News)

Apr 14 - Fiji's Methodist Church says it will force its lay members to resign from leadership positions if they stand for election in the country's September election.


Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem as celebration of Easter continues (

Apr 20 - THE dark hall inside Christianity’s holiest shrine was illuminated with the flames from thousands of candles on Saturday as worshippers participated in the holy fire ceremony, a momentous spiritual event in Orthodox Easter rites.


Ukraine priests preach politics from pulpit at Easter Sunday services (The Australian)  

Apr 20 - POLITICS overshadowed Easter observances in Kiev and Moscow, with the Orthodox religious leaders in each capital trading barbs over the crisis in Ukraine — while the US reportedly prepared to send ground forces to neighbouring Poland.





Vince Focarelli granted bail variation to attend religious gathering (

Apr 15 - FORMER gang leader Vince Focarelli has been granted permission by the Adelaide Magistrates Court to attend a religious festival in Melbourne this weekend.


Clean up begins at Canberra Islamic Centre after vandalism attack (ABC News)

Apr 16 - The community has rallied around the Canberra Islamic Centre, as it starts the clean up after vandals trashed the centre.


Al-Qa’ida ‘soldier’ liked a drink (The Australian)

Apr 17 - AN Australian killed in a drone strike in Yemen last year attended a terrorist training camp and was the subject of ongoing interest to intelligence agencies.





Christian leaders protesting detention of children arrested at Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's office (ABC News)

Apr 15 - Eleven protesters, including priests and pastors, have been removed by police from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's office in Perth.


Also: Why we held a sit-in over child detention ahead of Easter (The Age, Melbourne)

Apr 14 – (Opinion: Jarrod McKenna) Yesterday we were arrested in Julie Bishop's office.


Former senator Brian Harradine - the blueprint for the power of one (The Age, Melbourne)

Apr 15 - Brian Harradine, who died on Monday aged 79, was the longest-serving independent Senator in the history of Australia’s federation.


Mike Baird may be decent but he lacks mongrel (The Australian)

Apr 17 - NSW Treasurer Mike Baird is a thoroughly decent and principled person, and he’s a strong Christian who takes his beliefs very seriously.


Coalition celebrates a religious Easter: Eight of 19 cabinet members are Catholic (Sydney Morning Herald)

Apr 20 - Catholics are in power this Easter, with the highest proportion of ministers of that faith occupying senior positions in a Coalition government.


Asylum policies attacked (Sydney Morning Herald)

Apr 20 - As Scott Morrison and other Coalition ministers attend church this Easter, Adelaide's Anglican Archbishop Jeffrey Driver says he has a message he hopes reaches them.


Tony Abbott repeats himself? Noah way! (Sydney Morning Herald)

Apr 20 – (Opinion: Sam de Brito) Before Tony Abbott walked among us, there was Jesus and, before Jesus, came Noah.





Faith and science combine as religious leaders join fight for Maules Creek (The Age, Melbourne)

Apr 12 - Faith leaders travelled to Maules Creek this week to support local protesters who are trying to stop a new mine.


'Spiritual healer' Man Haron Monis charged with sexually assaulting client (Sydney Morning Herald)  

Apr 15 - A self-styled sheikh who sent offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman during ''spiritual healing'' sessions in western Sydney.


Christian camp loses discrimination appeal bid over same-sex youth group (The Australian)

Apr 16 - THE manager of a Christian youth camp which refused a booking from a suicide prevention group for same-sex-attracted youth has been granted leave to appeal a finding of discriminatory conduct in the Victorian Court of Appeal, despite a discrimination complaint against his employer being upheld.


Also: Court upholds complaint against WayOut (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)

Apr 16 - VICTORIA’S highest court has upheld a discrimination complaint against a Christian Brethren-run business that refused to deal with gay members of a suicide prevention group.


Glebe Salvation Army pastor delivers religious sermons at the Roxbury Hotel (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)

Apr 20 - BARE feet and eating a burger is how Glebe’s Salvation Army pastor Christian White prefers to deliver his sermons at the Roxbury Hotel.


Less South Australians identify with a religion, but many remain spiritual in the City of Churches (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)

Apr 20 - RELIGION in South Australia may be on the wane, but the City of Churches is a cradle of spirituality.


Couples forced to pay more for a civil service with a marriage celebrant (

Apr 20 - LOVED-up couples looking to marry will be forced to pay more for a civil service under a Federal Government crackdown on wedding celebrants.




Sydney Fish Market expects large crowds for Easter long weekend  (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)

Apr 17 - Sydney Fish Market’s monster day of seafood trading begins at 5am tomorrow, when an expected 25,000 people will start pouring through its doors.


Holy Easter period choc-full of excess (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)

Apr 17 – (Opinion: Jane Fynes-Clinton) LITTLE orbs of sweet bliss that turn magically into languid streams of chocolatey goodness – and rivers of gold for retailers.


Easter messages from our religious leaders (Adelaide Now)

Apr 17 - RELIGIOUS leaders from across SA send us their Easter messages, reminding us about the significance of this break.


Tasmania's church leaders urge compassion in Easter messages (ABC News)  

Apr 18 - Tasmania's religious leaders say Easter is a time of reflection, renewal and compassion.


Should we be playing footy on Good Friday? (

Apr 18 - THE AFL could schedule a match on Good Friday as soon as next year.


Also: Easter parade — Adelaide Crows ramp up fight against Victorian push for Good Friday history (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)

Apr 18 - ADELAIDE is ramping up its bid for the AFL’s first Good Friday clash undeterred by the Victorian push - and perhaps favouritism - to break the Easter taboo.


Easter should be a time to open up our eyes and hearts (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)

Apr 18 – (Opinion: Brian Houston) MANY Australians, including those who are not regular churchgoers, will attend church this Easter due to their personal faith.


Destructive blaze fails to dim Easter for St Barnabas Church worshippers in Bathurst (ABC News)  

Apr 19 - The convent chapel at the Sisters of St Joseph in Perthville will host the Easter weekend services for parishoners in Bathurst whose church was burned down.


A time for faith, hope and renewal (Adelaide Now)

Apr 20 – (Opinion: Editorial) THE relevance of Easter in the modern world has dominated many discussions in the lead-up to this four-day long weekend – the biggest annual observance on the Christian calendar.


Easter Sunday shares calendar with marijuana smokers day April 20 this year (

Apr 20 - SOCIAL media has been buzzing for weeks with jokes about how, this year, Easter Sunday shares the calendar with the pot-lover's highest holiday: April 20, or 420 in stoner lingo.


Greek Orthodox Easter traditions alive in Darwin (Adelaide Now)

Apr 20 - WOVEN into the many traditions of Greek Orthodox Easter; the sounds of dynamite and cracking eggs; the smells of sizzling souvlas and lamb on a spit; ouzo, octopus and soccer on the beach, is the most important Greek-Darwin art of finding, and holding, prime space at East Point Reserve.







From the Archive…


Religion News Australia 2014 – 11 (Mar 30 – April 12)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 10 (Mar 23 - 30)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 9 (Mar 16 - 23)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 8 (Mar 9 - 16)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 7 (Mar 3 - 9)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 6 (Feb 23 – Mar 3)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 5 (Feb 16 - 23)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 4 (Feb 9 - 16)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 3 (Feb 2 - 9)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 2 (Jan 26 – Feb 2)


Religion News Australia 2014 – 1 (Jan 4 - 26)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 53 (Dec 29 – Jan 4)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 52 (Dec 22 - 29)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 51 (Dec 15 - 22)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 50 (Dec 8 - 15)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 49 (Dec 1 - 8)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 48 (Nov 23 – Dec 1)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 47 (Nov 17 - 23)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 46 (Nov 10 - 17)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 45 (Nov 3 - 10)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 44 (Oct 27 – Nov 3)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 43 (Oct 20 - 27)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 42 (Oct 13 - 20)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 41 (Oct 6 - 13)


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Religion News Australia 2013 – 39 (Sept 22 - 29)


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Religion News Australia 2013 – 4 (Jan 20 - 27)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 3 (Jan 13 - 20)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 2 (Jan 6 - 13)


Religion News Australia 2013 – 1 (Dec 30 – Jan 6)



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