by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
March 29 – April 5, 2015
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
'Haunted house on the hill': Rachel Griffiths describes abuse
history at destroyed Melbourne church (ABC News)
Mar 31 - The destruction of St James Church in Brighton would be a relief to many former parishioners because of its history of sexual abuse, actress and former parishioner Rachel Griffiths has told 774 ABC Melbourne.
Ghost of paedophile
priest haunts the blackened ruins of St James (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 4 - There was no Good Friday service held at the blackened ruins of St James Church in Brighton, but that did not stop dozens of locals making a quiet pilgrimage to the gutted building.
Perth's Archbishop calls
for compassion for hunger striker near death in hospital (ABC
Apr 3 - The Catholic Archbishop of Perth has used his Good Friday message to ask for compassion to be shown to an Iranian asylum seeker who is near death in hospital.
Fire destroys heritage-listed St James Church in Brighton,
in Melbourne's south-east (ABC News)
Mar 30 - A heritage-listed church in Melbourne's south-east has been destroyed in an early morning blaze, with fire crews able to only save the building's facade.
Suspicious fire at
fourth Melbourne church (The Age,
Apr 3 - A church has gone up in flames on Good Friday, the fourth church fire this week.
ANZAC centenary centre
of Easter message (The West
Apr 3 - Sydney's Catholic Archbishop has used an Easter message to reflect on the upcoming Gallipoli centenary and the ongoing religious persecution of Christians around the world.
Latin America's first
women priests challenge Church (The
Apr 2 - Bogota (AFP) - Olga Lucia Alvarez, a Colombian septuagenarian, says it is her vocation to be a Catholic priest, and she is not going to let gender or excommunication stop her from preaching the gospel.
Pope washes feet of
prisoners in Holy Thursday ritual (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 3 - Rome: Pope Francis, saying he wanted to be a servant of society's neediest, presided at a Holy Thursday ceremony where he washed and kissed the feet of 12 men and women in a Rome prison housing many hardened criminals.
Brazilian priest who
dubbed kissing a 'grave sin' suspended for sending nude selfie (ABC News)
Apr 3 - A Brazilian priest known for conservative views on moral issues and disapproving in his sermons of kissing and sex has been suspended for sending a nude selfie to an apparent mistress on his mobile phone.
Bosnian Muslim sculptor
carves chair for Pope Francis (The
Apr 5 - Zavidovici (Bosnia-Hercegovina) (AFP) - A Muslim sculptor is carving the wooden chair Pope Francis will use on his visit to Bosnia in June in a gesture that bridges faiths in the multi-ethnic Balkan country.
Pope Francis leads
Easter service urging Catholics to shun indifference, live their faith (ABC
Apr 5 - Pope Francis has led the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics into Easter, urging them at a vigil mass to shun indifference and boldly live their faith.
Another blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh (ABC News)
Mar 31 - A blogger has been hacked to death in the Bangladesh capital in the latest brutal attack on the country's independent writers, a senior police officer said.
China jails Muslim man for growing beard, wife for wearing
Mar 31 - A Muslim man has been jailed in China for six years for growing his beard while his wife has been imprisoned for two years for wearing a burka, according to China Youth Daily reports.
Christians pray for peace after attacks (The West Australian)
Apr 3 - New Delhi (AFP) - As they filed out of a cathedral in the Indian capital on Palm Sunday, worshippers expressed fear and dismay over a string of attacks on churches and a school along with the rape of an elderly nun.
147 killed, 79 injured
in Kenya uni attack (The West
Apr 3 - Al-Shabab gunmen have rampaged through a university in northeastern Kenya, killing 147 people in the group's deadliest attack in the East African country.
bitches’ accused of US bomb plot (news.com.au)
Apr 3 - TWO women who declared themselves “citizens of the Islamic State” and wanted to become “real bad bitches” have been busted in a plot to blow up Americans — possibly at a police officer’s funeral — on behalf of the IS terror group, officials say.
Islamic State hostage
John Cantlie suggests truce in latest issue of Dabiq magazine (news.com.au)
Apr 4 - ISLAMIC State hostage John Cantlie has raised the idea of a “truce” between the terrorist group and other nations for the first time in the latest issue of Dabiq magazine.
massacre: Government says they 'will not be intimidated by the terrorists' (ABC News)
Apr 4 - Kenya has vowed not to bow to terrorist threats, a day after a massacre which left 147 people dead at the hands of Al Shabaab gunmen.
Good Friday: Pope
Francis hears of international indifference to Christian persecution at service (ABC News)
Apr 4 - The Vatican's official preacher has accused the international community of indifference to the persecution of Christians in a Good Friday service presided at by Pope Francis, a day after Islamist militants attacked a university in Kenya, killing at least 147 people.
Kenya attack survivor
says gunmen had scouted the campus (news.com.au)
Apr 4 - THE Islamic extremists who slaughtered 147 people at a college in Kenya as they shouted ‘God is great’ appeared to have planned extensively, even targeting a site where Christians had gone to pray, survivors said on Friday.
Al-Qaeda advances in key
Yemeni city (news.com.au)
Apr 4 - AL-QAEDA insurgents have advanced into a major city in south-eastern Yemen.
students prove easy prey for Shebab (The West Australian)
Apr 4 - Nairobi (AFP) - Islamist gunmen who massacred sleeping students in Kenya's Garissa university knew what they were doing: they picked a soft target put further at risk by crippling corruption and mismanaged security, analysts say.
Romania to expel seven for
recruiting for Al-Qaeda, IS (The
Apr 4 - Bucharest (AFP) - Romania will expel seven foreign nationals accused of recruiting members for the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda and propagating their ideas in the eastern European country, officials said Saturday.
Shiite fighters leave
Tikrit accused of looting the city after defeating Islamic State militants (ABC News)
Apr 5 - Almost all Shiite paramilitaries have left Tikrit, after locals complained that some fighters had spent several days looting the Sunni city after helping retake it from Islamic State (IS) militants.
Massacre survivor coaxed
from cupboard after hiding for two days (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 5 - When al-Shabaab gunmen burst through the gates of her Kenyan university at dawn on Thursday, Cynthia Cheroitich crawled into a cupboard and hid under a pile of clothes.
Kenya massacre: police
parade corpses of university gunmen through massacre town (news.com.au)
Apr 5 - THE Somali al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants who slaughtered nearly 150 people in one of Kenya’s worst massacres reportedly separated their victims into Muslims and non-Muslims, taunted Christian and Jewish students before executing them.
Islamic State extremists
use sledgehammers and rifles to destroy UNESCO World Heritage site (news.com.au)
Apr 5 - ISLAMIC State extremists have used Kalashnikovs and sledgehammers to destroy Iraq’s UNESCO World Heritage city of Hatra, a new militant video purportedly from the group shows.
NZ man Philip Blackwood,
jailed in Myanmar for insulting Buddhist faith, 'sleeping on wooden pallet' (ABC News)
Mar 31 - The family of a New Zealand man who has been jailed in Myanmar for insulting the Buddhist faith has spoken for the first time about the terrible conditions he is facing behind bars.
religious freedom act following Indiana; US companies say bill curbs gay rights (ABC News)
Apr 2 - Arkansas lawmakers have passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that critics say will allow businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians.
US states pass amended
religious freedom laws after outcry (The West Australian)
Apr 3 - Washington (AFP) - The US states of Arkansas and Indiana passed amended versions of religious freedom laws on Thursday following a nationwide outcry that the original legislation effectively legalized discrimination against homosexuals.
Wal-Mart support of gay
rights turns on business (The
Apr 3 - CHICAGO (Reuters) - The chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores Inc has emerged as an unlikely voice for gay rights after the Arkansas governor heeded his call on Wednesday to reject a much-criticized bill.
Philippine devotees get
nailed to crosses, whip themselves in Good Friday acts of devotion (ABC
Apr 3 - Devotees in the fervently Catholic Philippines have nailed themselves to crosses and whipped their backs bloody in extreme acts of devotion that have attracted thousands of spectators.
Muslim population could
catch up with Christians globally (The
Apr 3 - Washington (AFP) - The Muslim and Christian populations could be nearly equal by 2050, with Islam expected to be the fastest-growing faith on the planet, according to projections released Thursday.
Yoga doesn't bend rules
on religion in US (The West
Apr 4 - Yoga taught in a US public school isn't a gateway to Hinduism and doesn't violate the religious rights of students or their parents, a California appeals court has ruled.
Christians celebrate Easter's
empty tomb in Jerusalem (The West
Apr 5 - Jerusalem (AFP) - The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem urged Christians to stand firm in the face of tragedy, as worshippers massed for Easter Sunday at the site where they believe Jesus rose from the dead.
Atheists slam group for
Islam protest (The West
Apr 2 - Atheists have attacked Christian groups planning an anti-Islam protest over the Easter weekend.
rallies would have caused distress among migrants, supporters of
Apr 5 - Supporters of multiculturalism say rallies across Australia by a group calling itself Reclaim Australia would have caused distress among new migrants.
around the country spark ugly stand-offs (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 5 - Anti-Islamic protests around the country have sparked ugly stand-offs in Melbourne and Brisbane, with police being called in to keep rival protesters apart.
Tensions threaten to
boil over at Brisbane Reclaim Australia rally (Brisbane Times)
Apr 5 - Passions threatened to boil over in Brisbane's King George Square on Saturday as insults flew between an anti-Islamic rally, at which Pauline Hanson took centre stage, and a pro-multiculturalism counter-rally.
So this is Easter:
Melbourne faces off at anti-Islam rally as police on horseback hold factions apart (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 5 - Hundreds of people washed spit from their faces on Saturday evening after an ugly stand-off at Federation Square between supporters of Reclaim Australia, an anti-Islamic movement, and No Room For Racism, a coalition of trade union, community and left-wing groups.
Reclaim Australia and No
Room for Racism rallies clash across Australia (news.com.au)
Apr 5 - VIOLENCE erupted at protests across Australia as anti-Islamisation and anti-racism groups clashed at rival rallies.
Stand Up's New
Australian Haggadah in demand for Passover (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 2 - It's a time of year traditionally associated with ancient texts, unleavened bread and age-old lessons about faith and tradition.
Tony Abbott joins
thousands attending Good Friday church services around the country (ABC
Apr 3 - Prime Minister Tony Abbott was among the many people who attended Good Friday church services around the nation.
Good Friday: Christians
around Australia commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (ABC
Apr 3 - Thousands of people across the country are today marking one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar, Good Friday.
Good Friday: The Way of
the Cross (The Age,
Apr 3 - Past the broken bottles and still-wet vomit left behind after a wild, pre-long-weekend night in Melbourne's CBD, they marched.
Call for sunset photos,
'virtual prayer' as western Queensland shires mark two years of drought (ABC News)
Apr 3 - A "virtual prayer" event for rain across outback Queensland is being organised for this Easter weekend.
Hope and hot cross buns
in Easter messages (The West
Apr 3 - A leading Australian religious leader has used the humble hot cross bun to deliver his Easter message on Good Friday.
Suspicious fire at
fourth Melbourne church (The Age,
Apr 4 - A church has gone up in flames on Good Friday, the fourth church fire this week.
Former president of NT
Labor, detained at Darwin airport after returning from fighting Islamic State (ABC News)
Apr 5 - Former president of NT Labor, Matthew Gardiner, has been detained at Darwin airport after returning from helping Kurdish fighters against Islamic State (IS) militants in the Middle East, the ABC understands.
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