Religion News Australia

November 13 – 27, 2022

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Catholic school staffer to spend at least 18 months in jail over sexual abuse of Tasmanian students  (ABC News)
Nov 23 – A staff member at a Tasmanian Catholic school has been described as “persistent and predatory” in the sexual exploitation of multiple students and young girls, and will now spend at least 18 months in prison.

Father Damian’s dark playbook (ABC News)
Nov 27 – Joe* was just eight years old when he wrote a letter to his mum to tell her he was running away from everything.


Private schools buoyed by record cash and new enrolments (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 26 – Private schools are sitting on record reserves of cash as growing enrolments, a pause on big building projects and an end to COVID-19 fee discounts fill their coffers.

Catholic Church

Cardinal recorded phone call to Pope (The Australian)
Nov 27 – The disgraced cardinal at the ­centre of a Vatican trial secretly ­recorded a phone conversation with Pope Francis in an ­attempt to defend himself against charges of abuse of office and embezzlement.


Iran’s women want a revolution, and this time the protest is driven by a globally connected movement (ABC News)
Nov 19 – For two months, Iranian women have been marching in the streets, burning their hijabs and cutting off their hair in mass protests against the Islamic Republic.

IS bride fights to restore UK citizenship (The Australian)
Nov 22 – Seven years after travelling to Syria to join Islamic State, former child bride Shamima Begum claims she was a victim of trafficking.

Religious Violence

Iran intensifies crackdown in Kurdish area, rights group says four killed (ABC News)
Nov 21 – Iran’s clerical rulers have stepped up efforts to suppress anti-government protests in the country’s Kurdish region, deploying troops and killing at least four demonstrators on Sunday, social media posts and rights groups said.

‘Not an idle threat’: Two arrested after Twitter posts to ‘shoot up a synagogue’ (Brisbane Times)
Nov 22 – New York: Two men who were arrested at New York’s Penn Station after authorities spotted social media posts about attacking a synagogue represented a real danger to the city’s Jewish community, Mayor Eric Adams said Monday.


Singing nun who won The Voice switches habit for red lipstick (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 22 – Rome: A young nun who shot to fame after winning the Italian version of The Voice has announced that she is renouncing her religious vows, swapping her demure appearance for make-up and glamorous outfits.

Ukraine’s security service raids Kyiv monastery, suspects Russian sabotage (ABC News)
Nov 23 – Ukraine’s security service and police raided a 1,000-year-old Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv early on Tuesday as part of operations to counter suspected “subversive activities by Russian special services”.

Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder: ‘There are quite a few areas where physics blurs into religion’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 27 – Sabine Hossenfelder is a German theoretical physicist who writes books and runs a YouTube channel (with 618,000 subscribers at time of writing) called Science Without the Gobbledygook.


Sydney mayors are told families of IS fighters will be resettled ‘where they came from’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 25 – The federal government says repatriated Australian family members of Islamic State fighters will be resettled wherever they came from, reassuring mayors who voiced concerns they would all be moved to Sydney’s west.

Return to Oz: Jihadist Neil Prakash to face terror trial in Australia (Brisbane Times)
Nov 26 – The planned return of Islamic State terrorist Neil Prakash to face charges in Australia has been hailed as an “impressive accomplishment” by Australian authorities after years of diplomatic wrangling.


History making: Harry Sheezel shapes as the first Jewish AFL draftee this century (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 27 – As a kid, Harry Sheezel knew he was going to try and make the AFL. He’s days away from securing that goal after a stunning season, among the list of top hopefuls at this year’s draft.


Religious leaders in the NT urge government to revise proposed changes to anti-discrimination laws (ABC News)
Nov 19 – Leaders of several religious groups in the Northern Territory have joined forces to raise concerns over proposed changes to anti-discrimination laws, warning the NT government of a voter backlash if the changes are legislated.

Sister of controversial Victorian Liberal Party candidate opens up about City Builders Church (ABC News)
Nov 20 – As her father and his followers hammered wooden stakes into the ground around the perimeter of their south-east Victorian town, Clare Heath-McIvor decided that something wasn’t right.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy ignored warnings about Renee Heath’s religious views (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 20 – At least nine senior Liberal Party members wrote to Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and other party leaders weeks ago to sound the alarm about the political risks of candidate Renee Heath’s controversial religious views, but were dismissed or received no response.

Torture survivors’ plea for Australia not to abandon them after China reset (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 23 – When Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, business leaders celebrated the “tremendous reset” in the Australia-China relationship.

LGBT community welcomes NT law overhaul, but religious groups still hold concerns (ABC News)
Nov 24 – The Northern Territory’s LGBT community is celebrating the most extensive overhaul of anti-discrimination laws in three decades as a “huge stride” towards equality.

Faith no more: Fewer Christians, but religion still haunts politics (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 24 – The long and uneasy relationship between religion and major-party politics has returned with a vengeance in Victoria, despite a precipitous drop in Christian adherence in every age group and every electorate in the state.


Heritage-listed Herberton church destroyed by fire in Far North Queensland (ABC News)
Nov 25 – One of Queensland’s oldest churches has been destroyed in a blaze.

Fourteen people are accused of murdering Elizabeth Struhs. Here’s what we know about the case  (ABC News)
Nov 26 – With her long dark hair, pink Tweety Pie cap and Dora the Explorer shirt, eight-year-old Elizabeth Struhs looks like a happy little girl in a family photograph.