Religion News Australia

March 15 – 22, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Convicted paedophile Vincent Ryan confessed to a priest — then he continued abusing children (ABC News)
Mar 17  – Vincent Ryan is a Catholic priest and a paedophile, convicted of sexually abusing more than 30 children.

A prayer for contrition (The Australian)
Mar 17 – (Opinion: David Brearley) When a pedophile priest said he was ready to talk, it took courage to listen.

You’ll need a strong stomach to digest  insights into child sexual abuse in the Catholic church (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 17 – (Opinion: Brigid Delaney) ABC’s documentary about a convicted paedophile priest is difficult to watch, but perhaps it’s necessary to bear witness


Catholic schools overruled on closures (The Australian)
Mar 18  – The national head of Australia’s 1800 Catholic schools has overruled calls from Sydney leaders for an urgent shutdown.


Defrocked French priest jailed for abusing scouts over 20-year period (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 17  – A defrocked French Catholic priest has been sentenced to five years in jail for sexually abusing scouts in his care several decades ago, ending a case in which it was claimed his superiors shielded him from prosecution.

Religious Violence

Delhi’s Muslims despair of justice after police implicated in riots (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 17  – On one side of the marketplace, it was carnage.


‘Dead Sea Scrolls fragments’ at Museum of the Bible are all fakes, study says (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 17  – When Steve Green paid millions of dollars from his family fortune for 16 fragments of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, it seemed the perfect addition to their new Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.

Rio’s state of emergency closes Christ statue (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 18  – Rio de Janeiro: Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, atop the Corcovado mountain, has withstood the worst of what the elements could muster for nearly nine decades.

Church of England suspends all services over coronavirus (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 18 – The Church of England has suspended all services until further notice, saying it must become “a different sort of church in these coming months”.


This is what moving to regional Australia is like when you’re a migrant (ABC News)
Mar 17  – “Life was not easy for us in Pakistan,” Rahila says simply.


‘A right to be nasty’: Older Australians at risk under religious discrimination bill (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 15  – Legal experts have warned that LGBTQ people in aged care facilities will be at risk of ridicule, humiliation and intimidation under the federal government’s religious discrimination bill.


Church services go online and Muslims urged to avoid mosques (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 15 – Large religious gatherings have been cancelled and churches plan to video-stream services from this week to help contain the coronavirus.

Also: Bishops lead prayers on church steps as visitors keep social distance (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar18 – Church bells will ring twice a week before ministers pray outside on the steps of Anglican cathedrals in Sydney, Parramatta and Wollongong, for the first time since World War II.

Also: Easter services hit as COVID-19 prompts religious leaders to halt gatherings (ABC News)
Mar 21  – Those turning to their faith for guidance on how to cope with COVID-19 are finding their places of worship in lockdown as religious institutions do their bit to contain the spread of the virus.

Also: Churches to run services at the beach and in driveways (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 21 – Church services will be held at the beach and in church driveways where worshippers will sit 1.5 metres apart on plastic chairs while a priest stands at a makeshift altar.

Meet the former violent Nazis who now preach compassion (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 17  – Tony McAleer, a dapper Canadian in his early 50s, is unrecognisable from his previous life as a violent skinhead and organiser of hate group White Aryan Resistance.

Welcome to Banjawarn, the outback station once home to a Japanese doomsday cult (ABC News)
Mar 21  – The phone rang early in the morning. Someone in Japan was asking Rosarie Day if her family was bleeding from their ears and noses.

We broke the rules – and coronavirus is our punishment (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 21 – (Opinion: Elizabeth Farrelly) Absence wakes me. No planes.