Religion News Australia

February 2 – 9, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Review unearths years of sex abuse by Jesuit priests (The Australian)
Feb 3  – Sex offence allegations against 21 Jesuit priests and lay staff have been unearthed in a review.

George Pell’s appeal ‘glosses over’ evidence that supports conviction, DPP says (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 3  – George Pell’s appeal to the high court “glosses over” evidence that supports his conviction for child sexual abuse, Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions has argued.

Former inner west reverend charged with child sex offences (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 4  – A former Uniting Church minister who also ran one of the country’s most prominent gay conversion therapy programs has been charged with committing historical child sexual offences more than 30 years ago.


Historic Bishop’s Court in Adelaide listed for sale, set to smash city’s $7 million record (Brisbane Times)
Feb 8  – One of Adelaide’s most historic properties has hit the market today for the first time since it was built more than 160 years ago.


School apology for ‘anti-Semitic message’ (The Australian)
Feb 3  – An elite Melbourne school has been forced to apologise after complaints over its Christmas message.

Catholic Church

El Chapo’s daughter is married at majestic Mexican cathedral (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 3  – It was the society wedding of the year in Mexico’s drug cartel heartland: Alejandrina Gisselle Guzmán, daughter of the convicted kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, tied the knot with the kin of another member of Mexico’s underworld.

Pope Francis arranges for 19th century Palazzo Migliori to be converted into a homeless shelter (ABC News)
Feb 4  – A 19th-century palace in prime position in the centre of the Vatican has been converted into a homeless shelter on Pope Francis’ orders.


Indonesian woman who took a dog into a mosque acquitted of blasphemy charges  (ABC News)
Feb 9  – An Indonesian woman who doctors say should receive psychiatric treatment has been acquitted of blasphemy charges for taking a dog into a mosque.


Labour fuels record anti-Semitism rise (The Australian)
Feb 8  – Reported anti-Semitic incidents in Britain hit record levels in 2019, with more than a 10th ‘related to the Labour Party’.

Religious Violence

Man shot dead at south London knife attack was ‘a convicted terrorist’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 3  – London: A convicted terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest stabbed two people on a busy London street just days after his release from prison and while under surveillance by counter-terrorism officers who shot him dead.

Also: Cafe worker’s reaction reveals blase attitude to terrorism (Brisbane Times)
Feb 3 – London: In the frantic minutes after police shot dead knife-wielding terrorist Sudesh Amman in a busy high street, an armed officer walked into a nearby cafe with a simple instruction.

Also: Man shot dead by UK police in London stabbing wanted girlfriend to behead parents (ABC News)
Feb 4 – The man shot dead by police after wounding two people in a stabbing spree on a busy London street had been jailed for promoting violent Islamist material and had encouraged his girlfriend to behead her parents.

Shamima Begum loses first stage of appeal against citizenship removal (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 8  – Shamima Begum, the woman who left Britain as a schoolgirl to join Islamic State in Syria, has lost the initial stage of her appeal against the Home Office’s decision to revoke her UK citizenship.

Iran locks members of minority Baha’i faith out of identity documents (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 9  – The Baha’i community living in Iran is experiencing a surge in persecution following the tension between the US and Iran.


Pastor blamed after church stampede kills at least 20 in Tanzania (Brisbane Times)
Feb 3  – Dar Es Salaam: At least 20 people have been killed and more than a dozen hurt in a stampede during a church service in northern Tanzania.

Faith on a sinking ship (ABC News)
Feb 6  – Halfway between a little blue house and the ocean, a group of boys and men gather under a tree.

Super League to veto controversial rugby players after Israel Folau signed by French club (ABC News)
Feb 6  – Super League will introduce measures to prevent controversial players from being signed by rugby clubs after Israel Folau took up a one-year contract with French side Catalans Dragons.


Chinese company with NT farm involved in Xinjiang ‘political indoctrination’ program (ABC News)
Feb 8  – A Chinese company that owns farmland in the Northern Territory has been cooperating with a controversial “political indoctrination” program in China’s far-western Xinjiang region, where more than 1 million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been detained in camps.


‘No words can help them’: Samuel Davidson’s parents speak, apologise after horrific incident (
Feb 3  – The parents of the man accused of driving drink and mowing down a group of young kids have said they have “lost our son”.

Also: To forgive is a strength, not a weakness, so all power to the Abdallah family (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 9  – The deaths of the three Abdallah children and their cousin, mown down by an alleged drunk driver in Oatlands last weekend, has shocked the nation.

Female genital mutilation researcher says midwives are the frontline of fight against the practice (ABC News)
Feb 6 – For Western Sydney University researcher Olayide Ogunsiji, female genital mutilation was so prevalent where she grew up in Nigeria, her own cutting was never questioned.

Couple who believe it’s a sin to be gay fight for right to be foster carers (
Feb 6  – A Perth couple who believe homosexuality is a sin that can be overcome are locked in a court battle with a West Australian organisation which denied their application to become foster parents.

Thank God I’m an atheist (The Australian)
Feb 9 – (Opinion: Phillip Adams) Many of the most savage and destructive wars have been fought within religions, not between them.