Religion News Australia

April 23 – 30, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘Jesus won’t forget this’: Catholic Church sued over alleged abuse by late Father Joe Doyle (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 30 – The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne is being sued over the alleged sexual abuse of two school students in the 1970s and ’80s by a priest who was found by the church to be a paedophile in 2005 and continued to perform clerical duties for more than a decade.


Former governor-general avoids defrocking despite misconduct finding (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 30 – Former governor-general Peter Hollingworth will retain his position within the Anglican Church despite the church’s board finding him guilty of misconduct over his handling of sexual abuse allegations during his time as Brisbane archbishop.


Matt Rowland Hill: ‘My mother says she will sue me if I ever write another book like it’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 30 – Matt Rowland Hill, 38, is the author of Original Sins, about growing up as the son of a baptist minister before falling into a decade-long addiction to heroin while studying at Oxford.


Father Bob Maguire to be honoured with state funeral in Victoria, Premier confirms (ABC News)
Apr 25 – Father Bob Maguire will be honoured with a state funeral in Victoria, the Premier has confirmed.

Also: By simply showing that someone cared, Father Bob changed lives (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 30 – Father Bob Maguire was a curmudgeonly, stubborn man with an innate distrust of rules. Rules, business formulas and governance were often seen as artificial constructs that stood between him and a ready, instant solution to an immediate human need.


‘Pain and pushback’: Religious schools carve out a place for faith among modern views (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 26 – Religious schools are adjusting to keep up with an increasingly secular society, but it’s not without “pain and pushback,” as they juggle traditional views with progressive students.

Islamic school’s teachers absent following principal sacking, classes forced to merge (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 30 – Dozens of staff at a troubled independent school in Preston refused to come to work last week following the firing of two principals, leaving no cover for prep students and forcing classes to merge in every year level between grade 2 and year 10.

Anglican Church

The church has at last welcomed us singletons into the fold. Hallelujah! (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 30 – (Opinion: Emma John) Rejoice, ye singleton, for this week, thou art truly blessed. On Wednesday, the Church of England released the findings of its report on families and households and one of the key messages, endorsed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, is that it’s about time we honoured the state of singleness.

Archbishop of Canterbury invites public to pledge allegiance to King Charles III during coronation (ABC News)
Apr 30 – Members of the public have been asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury to pledge their allegiance to the new monarch  out loud during King Charles III’s coronation, in a new addition to the ancient ceremony.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis allows women to vote at upcoming bishops’ meeting (ABC News)
Apr 27 – Pope Francis has decided to give women the right to vote at an upcoming meeting of bishops, a historic reform that reflects his hopes to give women greater decision-making responsibilities.


Australian man charged for allegedly spitting in Indonesian imam’s face (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 30 – An Australian man is facing more than a year in jail after allegedly spitting in the face of an imam at an Indonesian mosque.

Religious Violence

Dozens of bodies found in shallow graves on land of Christian cult (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 24 – Nairobi: Thirty-nine bodies have been found so far on land owned by a pastor in coastal Kenya who was arrested for telling his followers of a Christian cult they would go to heaven if they starved themselves to death.

Also: Death toll rises to 89 in Kenyan starvation cult investigation, minister prays survivors will speak out (ABC News)
Apr 26 – The death toll among followers of a Kenyan cult who believed they would go to heaven if they starved themselves has risen to 89.

Right-wing Israelis come out in force to support plan to overhaul courts (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 28 – Jerusalem: In a defiant show of force, masses of right-wing demonstrators have converged on Jerusalem to support an Israeli government plan to overhaul the judiciary that has deeply divided the country.


Indian police arrest Sikh separatist leader Amritpal Singh in Punjab after weeks on the run (ABC News)
Apr 24 – Indian police have arrested Sikh separatist Amritpal Singh after searching for him for more than a month, in a move against the revival of an independent homeland in the state of Punjab bordering Pakistan.

How Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine may have turned Kyiv’s ancient monastery into a ‘nest of spies’ (ABC News)
Apr 28 – If this is a Russian nest of spies, as Ukraine’s government is suggesting, there could not be a more magnificent and grandiose place for alleged agents to hide.


Raised with demons: How the Potter’s House church keeps its followers under control (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 23 – Amy Higginson was a little girl when she was told about the demons manifesting inside her.

Nick was told to ‘cast demons out’ because he was gay.  (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 25 – Raised in a closed, hardline church, Nick Iriks was told as a teenager he was possessed by the “spirit of homosexuality” as a punishment for sin and rebellion.

‘Stench gas’ shuts down Woodside AGM landing two protesters behind bars (WA Today)
Apr 30 – Two protesters were held in police custody on Friday night after being arrested at Perth Convention Centre earlier in the day attempting to disrupt a Woodside AGM.