Religion News Australia

December 5 – 12, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Cardinal Pell: a man of sorrows (The Australian)
Dec 12 – The case of George Pell revealed deep fault lines in Australian society. A new book argues the Cardinal bore collective guilt for the sexual crimes and abuses of others.

The prison journals of Cardinal George Pell (The Saturday Paper)
Dec 12 – Cardinal George Pell spent 13 months in prison before his conviction for child sexual abuse was overturned by the High Court. During his time in jail, he wrote diaries musing on faith, sport and life. By Peter Craven.


Anglican Church gets $10m for Byron Bay church-owned property sold in ‘desperation’ (ABC News)
Dec 9 – The Anglican Church has sold one of its properties in the heart of Byron Bay for more than $10 million amid the region’s overheated real estate market.


Hannah Gadsby – Body of Work: a joyful guide to blasting Netflix and messing with Christian bakers (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 10 – (Review) What better way to symbolise your favourable turn in fortune than with adorable bunnies, the sign of good luck?

‘There’s always been an affinity between Christmas and ghosts’: Gatiss on the joy of festive frights (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 12 – The writer and actor puts the ghoul into yule with screen and stage roles reprising haunting classics from Charles Dickens and MR James


Cranbrook takes another step towards opening school to girls (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 7 – Eastern suburbs boys’ school Cranbrook will put a proposal to introduce girls into years 11 and 12 to its school community early next year, a move its board says would increase interaction between the sexes and encourage healthy, respectful relationships.

School chaplaincy scheme to be independently evaluated (Brisbane Times)
Dec 11 – The federal government will commission an independent review of the $61.4 million-a-year school chaplaincy scheme, as chaplains defend their role as preventative mental health workers while backing calls for more school psychologists.


When meditation turns toxic: the woman exposing spiritual sexism (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 9 – Tara Brach was four months pregnant when she miscarried at a women’s retreat in Española, New Mexico.

Catholic Church

Mediterranean ‘grim cemetery without tombstones’ (The Australian)
Dec 7 – Pope Francis has called the ­neglect of migrants streaming across the Mediterranean the ‘shipwreck of civilisation’.

No ho ho: Italian church apologises over bishop’s claim about Santa Claus (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 11 – A Roman Catholic diocese in Sicily has publicly apologised to outraged parents after its bishop told a group of children that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

Spanish bishop who married author of satanic erotica is stripped of powers (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 12 – Spain’s youngest bishop has been stripped of his church powers, the country’s episcopal conference said on Saturday, after he married a psychologist-turned-author of satanic erotica.

Religious Violence

Taliban gunmen steal Aussie food aid (The Australian)
Dec 7 – Almost 3.7 tonnes of Australian-badged flour were stolen at gunpoint by Taliban soldiers last month and returned only under pressure a few days ago.

‘If you run, you will die’: fear stalks Nigerian state as jihadists gain foothold (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 8 – “They ordered everyone to come around, saying if you run, if you cry, you will die,” said Bala Pada, recalling the moment in April when jihadists rounded up people at a market in his home town of Kaure to witness the execution of two alleged vigilantes.

Independent Uyghur Tribunal finds China committed genocide and crimes against humanity  (ABC News)
Dec 10 – An independent, unofficial body set up by a prominent British barrister to assess evidence on China’s alleged rights abuses against the Uyghur people has found that the Chinese government committed genocide and crimes against humanity.

From bad to horrific: ‘This country is like a jail’ (The Australian)
Dec 11 – More than 100 days after the Taliban marched through the gates of Kabul, ending its deadly two-decade campaign to regain control of Afghanistan, the country is on the brink of collapse and famine.


Missionaries travel the world to spread the word of God. But what happens when things go wrong? (ABC News)
Dec 8 – When three missionaries who had been kidnapped in broad daylight in Haiti and held hostage for almost two months were finally freed this week, it should have been a moment of relief and celebration.

Radicalized Christian nationalism is a growing threat to American democracy (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 12 – (Opinion: Arwa Mahdawi) Forget everything you ever thought you knew about pregnancy: a 26-year-old congressman, who will never be pregnant himself, has helpfully stepped in to explain the process to everyone.


How Lina separated mental health struggles from her ‘worth’ as a Muslim (ABC News)
Dec 8 – (Opinion: Lina ) I sat quietly in the waiting room. The silence was deafening.


Labor reaches out to religious communities with faith and climate summit (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 7 – Labor will extend an olive branch to religious communities through a faith and climate summit on Thursday, Kristina Keneally has revealed.

Labor to focus on LGBTQI issues in religious freedom bill amid warning from Keneally (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 8 – Labor has committed to making protections for gay teachers and students a key focus during the looming election campaign while senior opposition frontbencher Kristina Keneally has raised concerns the proposed religious discrimination laws will become a political football.

Labor calls for ‘grassroots mobilisation’ of religious Australians to tackle climate crisis (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 9 – Anthony Albanese has called for the “grassroots mobilisation” of people of faith to tackle the climate crisis, appealing to a common “care for creation” across all religious groups.

Coalition targets Jewish voters in Goldstein, Wentworth (The Saturday Paper)
Dec 12 – The Liberal Party is seeking to shore up Jewish community support in key vulnerable federal seats in Sydney and Melbourne, with a heavily funded online attack ad against Labor over Israel.


Anti-Enlightenment secularists are wrong on rights (The Australian)
Dec 10 – (Opinion: Henry Ergas) It is only thanks to religion, in particular our Judaeo-Christian heritage, that the idea of human rights emerged.

Conservative and fringe links behind Qld anti-mandate groups (Brisbane Times)
Dec 12 – A loose coalition of groups opposed to Queensland’s imminent vaccine rules are being supported by like-minded minor parties and conservative operatives hoping to ride anti-government sentiment to the next federal election and beyond.