Religion News Australia

July 10 – 17, 2022

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



George Pell not ‘fit and proper’ to be archbishop or priest, lawsuit claims (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 15 – Lawyers acting for the father of a former choirboy have claimed the former senior Catholic cleric was not a fit and proper person to be a priest or the archbishop of Melbourne because of his knowledge of other instances of abuse inside the church.


Catholic bishops backflip on status of women in Church, giving hope to reformers (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 10 – Australia’s Catholic bishops have agreed to work to elevate the status of women in the Church – including by potentially serving in the ministry as deacons – after a major gathering plunged into chaos over the issue last week.

Also: Church’s council moved by the spirit of progress (The Australian)
July 11 – (Opinion: Geraldine Doogue) Despite reports to the contrary, a distressing split in the Catholic community was avoided at five minutes to midnight at last week’s Plenary Council.

Also: Why the Catholic Church vote on women deacons feels personal (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 12 – (Opinion: Elizabeth Young) The Australian Catholic Church’s vote last week on the role of women in the church felt personal.

Also: Woke politics has no place in the Catholic Church (The Australian)
July 12 – (Opinion: Jennifer Oriel ) But it is unclear why the Catholic Church continues to defend the fallacy that half of humanity is unfit to lead the church because they were born female.


More private schools denounce homosexuality, diverse gender identity in enrolment contracts (ABC News)
July 12 – Eleven private schools across Australia have been accused by human rights lawyers of exposing students to potential discrimination, after enrolment forms demanded prospective families support beliefs denouncing homosexuality and diverse gender identity.

Shore School principal dismissed amid divisions over leadership (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 15 – Shore School headmaster Tim Petterson has been dismissed after the school’s governing council said a review of culture had found new leadership was needed.

Catholic Church

Pope names three women to Vatican office overseeing bishop nominations (ABC News)
July 13 – Pope Francis has named three women who will serve as members of the Vatican office that vets bishop nominations, in another first for women to have a say in Catholic Church governance.

Religious Violence

What Hate Can Do: inside a devastating new exhibition on the Holocaust (The Guardian, Australia)
July 17 – At the Museum of Jewish Heritage, an expansive new exhibition traces back the story of Jewish life before, during and after a horrifying period.


Deluded Abe assassin on revenge mission (The Australian)
July 11 – The unemployed former forklift driver who assassinated Shinzo Abe said he held a ‘grudge’ against the former Japanese prime minister over his mother’s bankruptcy by a religious group.

Also: Shinzo Abe’s family history might provide some insight into why he was targeted  (ABC News)
July 12 – Shinzo Abe was renowned for his economic policies and nationalistic bent, but his legacy also includes an association with conservative religious groups and there is some evidence it is this reputation that made him a target.

Also: Shinzo Abe killing: ‘Moonies’ church confirms suspect’s mother is member (The Guardian, Australia)
July 12 – The mother of the man accused of assassinating Shinzo Abe is a member of the Unification church, which the suspect has cited as a motive for his fatal shooting of the former Japanese prime minister last week.


Jail swap sent Aussie mum, baby back to Islamic State (The Australian)
July 17 – Sydney woman Nesrine Zahab has revealed how she fled ISIS while pregnant, only to be returned to the extremist group with her newborn baby in a prisoner swap.

Imams dispute ‘cult’s licence’ (The Australian)
July 17 – A Sydney radio station alleged to promote ‘fringe views’ is under fire after a rival organisation claims they were improperly awarded a radio permit from the communications watchdog.

Tool to assess jailed terrorists before release criticised as unreliable and prejudicial to Muslims (The Guardian, Australia)
July 17 – A tool used by authorities to assess the risk posed by convicted terrorists before their release from prison is unreliable and should be investigated, the Australian Human Rights Commission and a peak body for Muslims have argued.


Reason, religion and tax: should churches still be considered charities? (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 17 – (Interviews) In the wake of the census revealing Australia’s continuing drift away from religion, Victorian politician Fiona Patten of the Reason Party called for religions to lose their tax-exempt status.


‘High-living’ Archbishop sues over explosive articles (The Australian)
July 12 – Australia’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop has launched defamation proceedings against a journalist after he published a series of articles claiming the Archbishop had mishandled donations.

Church’s numbers may be down but don’t count it out (The Australian)
July 15 – (Opinion: Dallas McInerney ) Yes, last year’s data shows that Catholicism in Australia decreased to 20 per cent (down from 22.6 per cent in 2016); however, those who wish the church an early exit should prepare for disappointment.

Why is God a man? The woman who searched the world for a feminist religion (The Guardian, Australia)
July 16 – (Interview) Disillusioned with Pentecostalism, Louise Omer decided to find a religion where women were not subordinate.

Spotlight back on church whose members were once known as ‘Moonies’ (The Age, Melbourne)
July 16 – London: Back in the 70s, you might at some point have been approached in the street by someone collecting money for the Unification Church.

Christian lobby weighs in ahead of potential Tasmanian ban on conversion practice (ABC News)
July 17 – Ahead of a potential ban on conversion ‘therapy’ in Tasmania, a petition being pushed by the Australian Christian Lobby says the community has been “taken by surprise” by the push to outlaw conversion practices and urges it be reconsidered.