Religion News Australia

May 7 – 14, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Ex-Moriah College teacher jailed over 1100 ‘depraved’ child abuse files (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 11 – A former head of English at Moriah College has been jailed for 18 months after more than 1100 images and videos of depraved child abuse were found on his devices, including of victims held at gunpoint and aged as young as two.

State governments forced to indemnify church bodies for child abuse due to insurance ‘market failure’ (The Guardian, Australia)
May 11 – State governments are being forced to strike confidential deals granting taxpayer-funded indemnity to church bodies for child abuse after an inundation of survivors’ claims led commercial insurers to abandon religious institutions in droves.

Australia’s Anglican church leader calls for Peter Hollingworth to resign for ‘good of the church’ (The Guardian, Australia)
May 8 – The Anglican church’s most senior Australian leader has called for the former Brisbane archbishop and governor general Peter Hollingworth to resign for “the good of the church”.

Also: Peter Hollingworth to cease practising as an Anglican priest to ‘end distress’ for survivors (The Guardian, Australia)
May 14 – Peter Hollingworth has announced he will cease practising as an Anglican priest and will hand back his permission to officiate, citing a desire to “end distress” for survivors and stop “division” in the church.


Judy Blume recognised in new documentary and adaptation of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (ABC News)
May 14 – Judy Blume is having a moment.

Israel Folau: new documentary charts rise and fall of rugby star four years on (The Guardian, Australia)
May 14 – In the eye of this hurricane was Israel Folau – rugby star, Christian poster boy and fire-starter.


Closure fears for four schools as Catholic campuses come under microscope (The Age, Melbourne)
May 9 – The future of small Catholic schools could be at risk as four inner-city Catholic primary schools face potential closure due to tiny student numbers.

Catholic Church

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asks Pope Francis to back Kyiv peace plan  (ABC News)
May 14 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked Pope Francis to back Kyiv’s peace plan, with the pope indicating the Vatican would help in the repatriation of Ukrainian children taken by Russians.

Religious Violence

Israel bombs Gaza Strip, killing three Islamic Jihad leaders (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – Israeli warplanes have bombed the Gaza Strip, killing three senior Islamic Jihad commanders, according to Palestinian officials. In total nine people were killed, the territory’s health ministry said.

Israel, Islamic Jihad reach Egyptian-brokered cease-fire to end five days of fighting (ABC News)
May 14 – Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, ending five days of intense fighting that left 33 Palestinians, including at least 13 civilians, dead.


Being Jewish and critical of Israel can make you an outcast. I should know (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 14 – (Opinion: Antony Loewenstein) An Australian-Jewish writer details how his support for the Palestinian cause has made him a pariah in his own community.


Jehovah’s Witness died after refusing blood transfusion (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 9 – A woman who died of blood loss after an elective hysterectomy was a Jehovah’s Witness who left conflicting requests about whether she would consent to a blood transfusion, an inquest has heard.

Also: Jehovah’s Witness said she would ‘prefer to die’ rather than have blood transfusion (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 11 – A Jehovah’s Witness undergoing emergency surgery told a doctor she “would prefer to die” rather than having a blood transfusion, an inquest has heard.

Rockhampton mob ringleader was head of ‘patriots’ group that posted anti-Islam content (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – The ringleader of a Rockhampton mob that surrounded the home of an Indigenous teenager on Sunday was previously the national leader of a far-right “patriots” group, which regularly published anti-Islam content online.

Sikh leaders call for ‘peace’ after vandalism of Hindu temple in Western Sydney (ABC News)
May 14 – Members of the Sikh community have condemned vandalism on a Hindu temple in Sydney’s west, as tensions rise between the religious groups.

Tony was a gang member and drug dealer. Now, he picks up the ‘broken pieces’ of humanity (ABC News)
May 14 – Tony Hoang’s epiphany happened on a street in Cabramatta.

Alternative reality: two kambo deaths spark soul-searching in Australia’s counter-culture capital (The Guardian, Australia)
May 14 – A fortnight of harrowing testimony at consecutive inquests shines a light on the northern rivers’ alternative therapy scene.