Religion News Australia

June 4 – 11, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Church ‘needs levy to fund sex abuse victims’ (The Australian)
June 10 – A former senior Catholic adviser warns the faith’s financial structures could be broken by the abuse crisis but estimates its Australian profitable economic assets could be as much as $500bn.

Allegations of abuse at centre accused of ‘extreme religious practices’ raised in WA before $4m grant (The Guardian, Australia)
June 11 – Health authorities in Western Australia heard allegations of abuse at the Esther Foundation in 2018 – well before the Morrison government awarded the foundation a $4m grant.


Private schools are crying poor – but trust me, they can afford a new tax (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 6 – (Opinion: Emma Rowe) We like to think we are very egalitarian in Australia, but this isn’t reflected in our education system.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis in hospital for checkup – report (The Guardian, Australia)
June 6 – Pope Francis has gone to Rome’s Gemelli hospital for a checkup, the Ansa news agency reported.

Also: Pope Francis to undergo abdominal surgery, stay in hospital for several days (ABC News)
June 6 – Pope Francis will have surgery on his abdomen and spend several days at Rome’s Gemelli hospital, the Vatican said in a statement.


Harvard affirmative action challenge partly based on Holocaust denier’s work (The Guardian, Australia)
June 6 – Backers of the legal challenge to Harvard University’s affirmative action program currently pending in the US supreme court have based their case in part on evidence drawn from the flawed analysis of a Holocaust denier who publishes virulent antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ+ and neo-Nazi screeds.

At 12, I was in Auschwitz. My parents and seven siblings were murdered. Here is how I built a life (The Guardian, Australia)
June 6 – Ivor Perl survived the Holocaust, then spent 50 years quietly looking after his family and business in the UK.

Christian Broadcasting Network founder and former presidential candidate Pat Robertson dies at 93 (ABC News)
June 8 – Pat Robertson, a religious broadcaster who turned a tiny Virginia TV station into a global evangelical network, ran for president and helped make religion central to Republican Party politics in America, has died at 93.


How Australian cyber spies used ‘Rickrolling’ to disrupt Islamic State militants in Iraq (ABC News)
June 5 – Rick Astley never knew he had it in him.

Relationship between religious beliefs, nightmares, and anxiety being probed in new study (ABC News)
June 8 – A group of Australian researchers is investigating whether faith and spirituality influences how people dream, and whether people who are religious are less likely to have nightmares and dreams about death.

Man charged over alleged donation thefts from Buddhist temples across Adelaide (ABC News)
June 8 – A man has been arrested after an investigation into a series of break-ins and thefts of donations from Buddhist temples across Adelaide.

Gen Z gym bros resurrecting Christianity as religion makes godlike gains on social media (ABC News)
June 9 – Donning speed dealer sunnies and a T-shirt depicting a muscled Jesus, Hugo Byrnes is a larger-than-life character in his Alice Springs community.

After the demise of Hillsong, is there a place for the church in modern Australia? (ABC News)
June 11 – (Opinion: Karen Tong) Only a few years ago, Hillsong — a Pentecostal church planted in the north-western suburbs of Sydney in the 80s — was one of Australia’s biggest and most successful exports.

How faith has guided us through our son’s loss (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 11 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) Today is 12 years to the day since our youngest son, Sam, died at 17 of the leukaemia he’d been fighting on and off for 15 years.

I left Pentecostalism 17 years ago. Now I’m witnessing others make their own exodus from Hillsong (The Guardian, Australia)
June 11 – (Opinion: Marc Fennell) I reckon I was about 11 or 12 when it dawned on me there were some definite holes in Pentecostal Christian theology – the idea that bad things are the work of Satan, good things the result of hands-on intervention from God himself.