Religion News Australia

December 25, 2022 – January 1, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Pope Benedict: A Christian gentleman of the old school (The Australian)
Jan 1 – (Opinion: George Pell) Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, is universally regarded as one of the finest theologians and writers in the papacy’s almost 2000-year history.

Catholics lose a powerful intellect in Benedict (The Australian)
Jan 1 – (Opinion: Tess Livingstone) The late Pope Benedict XVI was one of the most rigorous, forensic theologians ever to hold the papal office.

The pope of paradox: Benedict XVI (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 1 – (Opinion: Miles Pattenden) Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger… was, above all, the pope of paradox: a conservative intellectual who became the papacy’s constitutional radical, “God’s Rottweiler” who loved nothing better than sitting quietly at his piano, Esquire Magazine’s “Accessorizer of the Year” who proved utterly incapable of managing his own public image.


Menage a trois like Holy Trinity: priest (The Australian)
Dec 29 – The case of Marko Rupnik, 68 has become test of Francis, a fellow Jesuit and his ‘zero tolerance of abuse’ promise.

Catholic Church

Pope Benedict, first to step down in 600 years, dies aged 95 (Brisbane Times)
Dec 31 – Vatican City: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the shy German theologian who tried to reawaken Christianity in a secularised Europe but will forever be remembered as the first pontiff in 600 years to resign from the job, died Saturday.

Also: Former pope Benedict XVI dies aged 95 as Vatican announces his body to lie in state  (ABC News)
Jan 1 – Former pope Benedict XVI, who became the first pontiff in six centuries to resign almost a decade ago, has died at the age of 95.

Also: ‘So noble, so kind’: Pope Francis leads tributes to Benedict XVI (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 1 – Pope Francis called former pope Benedict XVI a noble, kind man who was a gift to the church and the world, in his first public comments since the death of his predecessor earlier on Saturday.

Why did Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI resign, and how common is it for Catholic popes to quit? (ABC News)
Jan 1 – Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has died, aged 95, almost a decade after his resignation as head of the Catholic Church.


Exiled chief rabbi says Jews should leave Russia while they can (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 1 – Moscow’s exiled chief rabbi says Jews should leave Russia while they still can, before they are made scapegoats for the hardship caused by the war in Ukraine.

Netanyahu swears in hard-line government amid surge of resistance (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 30 – Jerusalem: Benjamin Netanyahu has returned to power for an unprecedented sixth term as Israel’s prime minister, taking the helm of the most right-wing and religiously conservative government in the country’s 74-year history.

Religious Violence

Iranian chess players compete without hijab, 100 Iranian detainees could face death penalty (ABC News)
Dec 29 – At least 100 Iranians, including five women, have been charged with capital offences in connection with protests in Iran, Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) says.

Anger as Pakistan court frees rapist after he agrees deal to marry his victim (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 1 – A court in Pakistan has caused outrage after it freed a convicted rapist when he agreed to marry his victim.


Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis call for end to war in Ukraine (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 26 – The archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis have used their Christmas addresses to call for an end to the war in Ukraine.

Two dead at Jehovah’s Witnesses center in Colorado (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 26 – Police in Thornton, Colorado, say they found two adults dead after investigating a suspected murder-suicide at a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall on Christmas morning.

Denmark may cancel national prayer day to help pay for weapons (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 29 – New York: Just as Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was due to begin a second term as Denmark’s leader this month, she caused an uproar by proposing a contentious way to provide more funding for the military: cancelling a national holiday.

From six-year-old Tibetan monk to teenage Ibiza raver: a Spanish boy’s incredible journey (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 1 – At the age of 14 months, Osel Hita Torres was recognised by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of a revered Tibetan lama.


John Howard overrode George Pell’s objections to allow research using surplus IVF embryos (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 1 – John Howard’s decision to allow stem cell research using surplus IVF embryos might surprise people “who saw Howard as only a rightwing person”, the former senator and cabinet minister Amanda Vanstone has said.


Voluntary assisted dying laws come into effect today in Queensland, so how does it work? (ABC News)
Jan 1 – Susan Reilly’s mother died two decades ago, but the toll of the “degrading” experience still lingers today.