Religion News Australia

June 18 – July 2, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Scandal-hit former GG’s letters missing (The Australian)
June 19 – Peter Hollingworth’s correspondence with Queen Elizabeth – likely referencing his handling of church sex abuse claims – has disappeared and authorities say they don’t know where it’s gone.

Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale pleads guilty to fresh charge relating to 72nd victim of abuse (ABC News)
June 22 – Notorious prolific paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale has pleaded guilty to another charge relating to a historical sex offences.

Australian Anglican schools left exposed as insurers refuse to indemnify church against claims (The Guardian, Australia)
June 25 – Private insurers are refusing to cover Anglican schools in southern Queensland for child abuse claims, leaving individual schools and dioceses financially exposed for the past two years.

‘Leifer stole my body’: Sisters reveal lasting legacy of abuse by former principal (The Age, Melbourne)
June 28 – With the court lectern turned to address her rapist – former ultra-Orthodox school principal Malka Leifer – Elly Sapper stood up, gathered her courage and revealed that just six days before her abuser was convicted, she lost her unborn child.

Leifer faked mental illness and should be denied sentencing discount, prosecutor says (The Age, Melbourne)
June 29 – Malka Leifer should be denied a significant sentencing discount for her time in prison and under house arrest in Israel because she was feigning mental illness to frustrate her prosecution, a court has heard.


Anglican Diocese fights heritage orders that prevent church redevelopment (Brisbane Times)
July 2 – The Anglican Church is at loggerheads with parishioners over proposed heritage protections that would prevent a Sydney church from being redeveloped, potentially as housing or commercial premises.


Director Warwick Thornton and star Cate Blanchett on their long-awaited collaboration The New Boy (ABC News)
June 29 – When Warwick Thornton was 11 years old, he was sent from his home in Alice Springs to a remote missionary-style school run by Benedictine monks, in the monastic town of New Norcia, Western Australia.


‘Love is love, cat food is cat food’: Scots parents outraged by ‘homophobic, misogynistic’ sermon (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 22 – Image Seven, the PR firm of choice for Scots College in Bellevue Hill, has been getting a workout of late.

Highview College principal embroiled in controversy over students’ braided hair resigns (ABC News)
June 29 – The principal of an independent regional Victorian school at the centre of racial discrimination allegations relating to two students’ African-style braided hair has resigned.


‘A stain on Ireland’s conscience’: identification to begin of 796 bodies buried at children’s home (The Guardian, Australia)
June 25 – On a balmy summer day, the site of the children’s mass grave in Tuam appears deceptively bucolic.

Catholic Church

Vatican says it has new leads on missing schoolgirl, 40 years after she vanished (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 23 – Vatican City: A Vatican prosecutor said he had uncovered new leads “worthy of further investigation” into the disappearance of a Vatican schoolgirl, who vanished 40 years ago.


Hajj pilgrimage attendance is set to hit a post-COVID record (ABC News)
June 28 – More than 1.8 million pilgrims from all over the world have already amassed in and around Mecca for the Hajj.

The road to Mecca is fraught – but there’s nothing like the hajj pilgrimage to turn hearts (The Guardian, Australia)
June 28 – (Opinion: Ali Hammoud) Millions of men, women and children converged on Mecca this week for the hajj pilgrimage.


‘I can’t pick up a gun’: a Ukrainian army chaplain on war, bandits and Russian ‘sadism’ (The Guardian, Australia)
July 1 – Dmytro Povorotnyi is one of 160 priests who comfort Kyiv’s soldiers.

Will India embrace the Uniform Civil Code and finally have a single common law for its 1.4 billion citizens?
July 2 – Within months of being re-elected as prime minister of India in 2019, Narendra Modi’s first big announcement was to strip Kashmir of special status.

How a Mexican spiritual leader preserves the sacred knowledge of the volcano known as El Popo (ABC News)
July 2 – Moisés Vega has a distinctive job: The 64-year-old Mexican says he can speak the sacred language of volcanoes to ask for good weather and a good crop.


Meet the Westerners finding belonging in Islam, the world’s fastest growing religion (ABC News)
June 29 – A few weeks ago, about 100 Muslim brothers surrounded father and schoolteacher Lincoln Randall at Launceston’s Masjid Mosque as he took his Shahada — a statement of faith taken on entry into the religion.

How a deployment to the Middle East led this Australian to Islam (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 2 – Myles Hembrow’s first exposure to Islam was on one of his deployments to Oman during his service with the Royal Australian Navy.