Religion News Selection

September 4 – 11, 2016

A selection of religion news stories from Australia.

(Research: Greg Spearritt)

Inclusion here does not endorse the veracity or quality of any particular item – it just means
I found it worth reading and reflecting on (even if badly conceived or poorly written).

If you’re after the unexpurgated (and reasonably unbiased) version,
see Religion News Australia which appears weekly on our website.




Man abused by three NSW Marist Brothers, royal commission told (Brisbane Times)
Sept 5 – A man who told an inquiry how he was sexually abused by three Marist brothers over years at a Newcastle school says his principal put his hands up and said “there’s nothing I can do” when he reported being touched.

Paedophile Marist Brother asked mother if boy left suicide note, inquiry told (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 6 – After 13-year-old Andrew Nash took his own life, a now-notorious paedophile Marist brother turned up to his house and asked his mother whether the boy had left a note.

Catholic church to use late Ballarat bishop’s estate to help victims of abuse (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 6 – The multimillion-dollar estate of the former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns will be used to help victims of abuse, the Catholic diocese has said.



Religious shift on same-sex marriage: Anglicans should vote ‘according to conscience’ (Brisbane Times)
Sept 10 – Christians should vote “according to their conscience” in a same-sex marriage plebiscite and the Church “must accept” the result, Australia’s most senior Anglican has told followers.



Q&A: ‘replace Jew with Muslim’ (The Australian)
Sept 6 – Shakespeare should be adapted to highlight modern day discrimination in Australia.


Catholic Church

Mother Teresa: Do miracles have a place in the modern-day Catholic Church? (ABC News)
Sept 6 – As Catholics around the world celebrate the canonisation of their newest saint Mother Teresa, debate is raging over whether miracles have a place in the modern-day Church.

Pope Francis culls Pell’s powers (The Australian)
Sept 8 – Many of George Pell’s wideranging powers over Vatican finances have been taken away from him and handed to others.


Hajj: Almost 1.5 million Muslims launch pilgrimage undeterred by deadly 2015 stampede (ABC News)
Sept 10 – From Asia, Africa and points in between, nearly 1.5 million Muslims have launched the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites, undeterred by a stampede last year that cost around 2,300 lives.

Religious Violence

Losing ground, fighters and morale – is it all over for Isis? (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 8 – (Opinion: Martin Chulov) It has been a bad few months for Islamic State (Isis).


Sunday blues: Growing up in an ultra-strict church (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 10 – (Opinion: Joan McFadden) I didn’t know we were different until I started school.



Islamic State call for attacks on specific locations in Australia ‘propaganda’, Victorian police say. (ABC News)
Sept 6 – Victoria Police and Premier Daniel Andrews have dismissed as propaganda a call in an Islamic State (IS) magazine for attacks to be carried out on specific locations in Melbourne and Sydney.

Also: There’s real and present danger in IS call for lone wolves to ‘scorch with terror’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 6 – (Opinion: Michael Bachelard) This is not the first time the so-called Islamic State has called for lone-wolf attacks in Australia.



Dear Pauline: Is that a Koran in your handbag? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 6 – (Opinion: Maher Mughrabi ) Dear Pauline, It was a pleasant surprise to hear that you are currently carrying around a copy of the Koran.



Scientology opens huge new Australasian headquarters in Sydney (
Sept 6 – IN A well-heeled suburb surrounded by bushland on Sydney’s north shore, a hulking concrete monolith designed as a “scientific wonderland” with soundproof rubber rooms peers out from its camouflaged position built into a hillside.

Also: Scientologists fighting decline (The Australian)
Sept 10 – Sydney has become home to what Scientology calls its biggest ­“spiritual centre” outside of the United States.

Presbyterian Church sign on same-sex marriage divides regional community of Taree (ABC News)
Sept 8 – Signs displayed outside a church in the New South Wales mid-north coast town of Taree are causing a stir, with some arguing they are offensive while others welcome them.

Religious harassment at work: would you intervene? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 9 – (Opinion: James Adonis ) Imagine this scenario.