Religion News Australia

August 14 – 21, 2022

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Ex-Catholic brother faces abuse charges (Brisbane Times)
Aug 15 – A boy rejected attempts by a Catholic brother to tuck him into bed during a home prayer meeting thinking it was “weird and strange”, a court has been told.

Former CBC Fremantle student claims chaplain sexually abused boys in ‘lockable confessional’ (ABC News)
Aug 16 – At the heart of a school where Fremantle’s Catholics sent their boys to be educated, a chaplain created his own lockable confessional to allegedly sexually abuse primary school students.

Former Qld Catholic school brother to stand trial on child sex charges (Brisbane Times)
Aug 18 – A former Catholic brother at a south-east Queensland school will stand trial on 15 child sex charges allegedly committed during the 1980s.


Australia’s Anglican Church splits over same-sex marriage, conservatives form new diocese (ABC News)
Aug 17 – Australia’s Anglican Church has split, with a conservative group of bishops opposed to same-sex marriage forming a breakaway diocese — but progressives argue they are “entirely faithful to scripture”.

Also: Australian Anglican church splits as conservatives form breakaway (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 17 – Australia’s Anglican church has split, and conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage have launched a breakaway movement led by former Sydney archbishop Glenn Davies aiming to lure Anglicans who are unhappy with progressive bishops.

Also: Anglican schism: how dare these fundamentalist defectors question our faith (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 18 – (Opinion: Matthew Anstey) This week, in an unprecedented act of schism, a disaffected group of Anglicans has departed to form a new “diocese of the Southern Cross”.

Also: ‘It’s a sin’: How sex and women split the Anglican church (Brisbane Times)
Aug 18 – For a long time, the Reverend Peter Palmer has been at odds with his earthly boss.

Also: Legal fight over same-sex faith (The Australian)
Aug 21 – A recently married, church­going couple are at the heart of an issue tearing apart the Anglican Church in Australia.


Last supper? Church urged to ‘show heart’ after tossing out beloved South Melbourne cafe (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 20 – South Melbourne residents and parishioners have urged the Catholic Church to “show some heart” after the owner of a beloved Italian café on church grounds was told his doors must close next month.


St Clare’s principal to head one of Sydney’s oldest all-boys schools ahead of co-ed move (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 15 – The head of all-girls St Clare’s College has been appointed the new principal of one of Sydney’s oldest all-boys schools as it prepares to become fully co-educational.

Bondi Jewish school set to close after failing to meet standards (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 16 – An eastern suburbs Jewish school is set to close after the state’s education authority recommended that its registration be cancelled for failing to meet curriculum and teaching standards.

Catholic school refuses to show media student’s same-sex movie (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 18 – A Melbourne secondary school is refusing to screen a year 12 student’s film about same-sex attraction because it is not in line with Catholic values.


National holiday marks Taliban’s first year back in power (The Australian)
Aug 15 – A year ago on Monday, the Islamists captured Kabul after a lightning offensive ended 20 years of US-led military intervention.


Game site Steam ‘a racist cesspool of anti-Semitism’ (The Australian)
Aug 17 – A complaint made to Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission has detailed claims of abuse and anti-Semitism on the online gaming platform Steam.

‘Fifty Holocausts’ remarks spark fury in Germany, Israel (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 18 – Berlin: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz voiced disgust on Wednesday at remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the German leader said diminished the importance of the Holocaust, while Israel accused Abbas of telling a “monstrous lie”.

Religious Violence

Iran denies involvement in attack on author Salman Rushdie (ABC News)
Aug 15 – An Iranian government official has denied Tehran was involved in the assault on author Salman Rushdie, in remarks that were the country’s first public comments on the attack.

Also: Iran says only Rushdie himself and supporters to blame for attack (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 15 – Dubai: No one has the right to level accusations against Iran over Friday’s attack on Salman Rushdie, for which he and his supporters are solely to blame, the Foreign Ministry in Tehran said on Monday.

Also: Fanatic’s attack on free speech (The Australian)
Aug 15 – ((Opinion: editorial) Mr Rushdie, 75, who has lived under the fatwa for 33 years, has regained consciousness and appears likely to survive. But the lesson from the assault must be learned.

Also: This can’t be Rushdie’s last word (The Australian)
Aug 15 – (Opinion: Caroline Overington) After decades of refusing to be silenced, the celebrated champion of the pen, not sword, has inspired the world of books now left reeling by the attack on his life.

Also: Salman Rushdie, Charlie Hebdo, violence and cancel culture (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 16 – (Opinion: Richard Flanagan) When, in February 1989, I heard from a friend of the fatwa put on Salman Rushdie, it made no sense.

Also: Joanne Harris v JK Rowling – the literary spat of the year (The Australian)
Aug 18 – Following the attack on author Salman Rushdie, the writer of Chocolat is at the centre of a row which has split the literary world down the middle.

Taliban victory disaster a year on (The Australian)
Aug 15 – (Opinion: editorial)  Afghanistan has again become a base for al-Qa’ida and Islamic State.

Letters from those left behind: Afghans who worked for Australia describe desperation  (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 15 – Afghan nationals who worked for the Australian military and government in Afghanistan before the fall of Kabul have pleaded for help to find safety, a year after the Taliban violently reclaimed power.

Freeing of terrorist who killed Australian soldiers shows how the US gave Taliban leverage  (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 17 – (Opinion: Ahmad Shuja Jamal) Many of the Taliban freed under the Doha Agreement took up arms, providing a deadly illustration of how the US-Taliban deal undermined the viability of the Afghan republic.

Huge explosion hits Kabul mosque, dozens dead and injured (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 18 – Kabul: A bombing at a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul during evening prayers killed at least 10 people, including a prominent cleric, and wounded at least 27, an eyewitness and police said.

Bali bomber Umar Patek’s release is being discussed. Here’s what you need to know  (ABC News)
Aug 20 – Umar Patek — who was jailed for 20 years over his role in the 2002 Bali bombings — has been given a further five-month reduction to his sentence as part of Indonesia’s Independence Day celebrations.

‘I want to leave this hell’: Afghan women are living in a dystopian world (The Australian)
Aug 21 – A year after the Taliban seized power, Afghanistan’s economy is in ruins – and women are paying the highest price. ‘Day by day they are bringing in more limits. Always on women.”

ISIS ‘Beatle’ pays price for savage beheadings (The Australian)
Aug 21 – US judge expresses revulsion while sentencing member of notorious kidnap-and-murder cell for the ‘barbaric’ deaths of four American hostages.

A student was jailed for her tweets – thank the Saudi regime’s enablers (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 21 – (Opinion: Arwa Mahdawi) Salma al-Shehab is sitting in prison because of a retweet.


Egypt church fire kills at least 41 including 10 children, injures 16 others in Cairo neighbourhood (ABC News)
Aug 15 – A fire ripped has ripped through a packed Coptic Orthodox church during morning services in Egypt’s capital, killing 41 worshippers, including at least 10 children.

Nepal’s holy Bagmati River turns from clear to brown and then to black.  (ABC News)
Aug 17 – High on a mountain in the Himalayas, pristine drops fall from the mouth of a tiger statue installed at a stream thought to form the headwaters of the Bagmati River, long revered as having the power to purify souls.

Young, Christian and gaining momentum: meet Britain’s anti-abortionists (The Australian)
Aug 21 – A new wave of activists has been buoyed by America’s Roe v Wade ruling and with increasing interest in their crusade they warn anti-abortion views are ‘not as niche or as marginal as people think’.

‘They said it was impossible’: how medieval carpenters are rebuilding Notre Dame (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 21 – At Guédelon Castle the year is 1253 and the minor nobleman, Gilbert Courtenay, has ridden off to fight in the Crusades, leaving his wife in charge of workers building the family’s new home: a modest chateau that befits his social position as a humble knight in the service of King Louis IX.


More Muslim children joining in Australian rules football through SANFL Bachar Houli Cup (ABC News)
Aug 17 – The SANFL has created a pathway for Muslim children to be introduced to Australian rules football.

Islamist terror prepares to attack the West (The Australian)
Aug 21 – (Opinion: Greg Sheridan ) An astonishing revelation from Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil reveals the shape of the terrorist threat to come. Part of it, oddly enough, arises from Covid.


‘#LastSupper’: NRL player Manase Fainu detained over church stabbing (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 15 – NRL player Manase Fainu has been detained ahead of sentencing for stabbing a Mormon youth leader in a Sydney church car park, despite his lawyers arguing his case was exceptional, and he had suffered an “unthinkable downfall”.

Overhaul of WA’s anti-discrimination laws to strengthen protections for women and LGBTIQA+  (ABC News)
Aug 16 – Western Australia’s anti-discrimination laws will be overhauled to provide stronger protections for women and LGBTIQA+ communities, among other reforms.

Catholic priest claims he’s been wrongly charged over Blockade Australia protest (ABC News)
Aug 17 – The first moment Father Peter Murnane knew he was wanted by police was when two officers turned up on his doorstep.

Why a gender-fluid god can save religion from itself (Brisbane Times)
Aug 18 – (Opinion: Louise Omer) Patriarchal belief systems have had their day. It is time for a queerer, kinder faith.

‘Forget about your worries or dying’ (ABC News)
Aug 20 – As Christianity rapidly declines, these religions are growing faster than ever.

The long history of psychedelics in religion, from ergot-spiked wine to magic mushrooms (ABC News)
Aug 21 – In the last century, psychedelics have gone from being at the cutting edge of medical science, to a symbol of the 1960s counterculture, and back again.

Sit still, don’t talk (The Australian)
Aug 21 – Sitting still, observing your bodily sensations… and no talking for 10 days. What can a Vipassana retreat teach you?