Religion News Australia

March 12 – 26, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Jury retires to consider evidence against former Melbourne principal Malka Leifer (ABC News)
Mar 22 – The jury in the Malka Leifer child sex abuse trial has retired to consider its verdict, after hearing evidence over a six-week period.

The ‘crushing’ new tactic the church uses to block claims by abuse survivors (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 22 – Strategy used to deny compensation is a ‘stark example’ of Catholic clergy prioritising the advice of lawyers over moral leadership


Calls for calm ahead of mass Sydney anti-abortion rally (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 25 – Organisers of an anti-abortion rally on Sunday have called for calm amid fears it will become another flashpoint after a violent protest outside a Sydney church on Tuesday.

Catholic Church

The pope who returned the church to the people it forsook (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 12 – (Opinion: Michael McGirr) Thirty-three years ago, Lulu Mitshabu left the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a refugee.

Pope hints at review of rules on celibacy (The Australian)
Mar 13 – His remarks came in an interview to mark the 10th anniversary of his election to the papacy, which fell on Monday.

Notre Dame’s new spire is under way, with hopes of late 2024 reopening (Brisbane Times)
Mar 20 – Briey, France: Almost four years after a fire gutted the over-850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the monument is slowly being pieced back together.


Bali governor rejects hosting Israel for FIFA under-20 World Cup (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 22 – Singapore/Jakarta: Football-mad Indonesia is preparing to stage its first major tournament, the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in May, but a row has erupted over the participation of Israel with Bali refusing to host the team.


Pro-Khalistan preacher Amritpal Singh is on the run. Indian authorities shut down a state to find him  (ABC News)
Mar 24 – As Amritpal Singh drove towards a village in India’s northern state of Punjab on Saturday afternoon, police started surrounding his car.


When is Ramadan 2023? This year, the holy month will end with a rare solar eclipse (ABC News)
Mar 22 – Don’t take it personally if you ask your friend out for lunch this month and they say no.


How we can fight violent extremism after far-right rally (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 22 – (Opinion: Daniel Aghion) The great American judge Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect [a person] falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”


Holsworthy candidate Tina Ayyad victim of smear campaign ahead of NSW election (ABC News)
Mar 18 – The Liberal candidate for the south-west Sydney seat of Holsworthy has been targeted in a racist smear campaign, ahead of the state election.


Hillsong leaders announce financial review after allegations in federal parliament (ABC News)
Mar 13 – Hillsong church has announced it will commission an independent financial review after being accused in federal parliament of “fraud, money laundering and tax evasion”.

‘Demolition by neglect’: The blame game over the historic Brunswick church falling apart (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 18 – It’s loomed over Sydney Road for more than 150 years, but the magnificent former Wesleyan Church is looking worse for wear these days.

‘Too special a place’: how an eclectic Queensland alliance saved a sacred site from rock climbers  (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 18 – To the Ugarapul people south-west of Brisbane, the grass trees, or whinpullin, are protectors of mountains.

When he joined the Christian fundamentalist scene, Brian was faced with ‘spiritual warfare’ (ABC News)
Mar 20 – Brian McDowell entered the “fundamentalist Pentecostal church scene” when he was 17.

Twelve Tribes sect in $6 million property sell-off in Picton (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 22 – Almost 20 years after the fundamentalist Christian sect known as the Twelve Tribes started a commune south-west of Sydney, members are moving out and their local property holdings are being put up for sale.