Religion News Australia

September 4 – 17, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Roman Catholic Archbishop fronts WA parliamentary inquiry into institutional child sexual abuse (ABC News)
Sept 11 – The difficulties survivors of child sexual abuse face when attempting to pursue justice is a reality of complexities of the church, the Catholic Archbishop of Perth says.


The Soweto Gospel Choir comes ‘home’ to Australia  (ABC News)
Sept 15 – The Soweto Gospel Choir has deep roots in Australia.


Surprise split among Catholic women over sex, divorce and patriarchy (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 12 – Although Australian Catholic women are frustrated about discrimination, abuse and patriarchy in the church, a study has exposed a surprising generational divide: older women are hungry for reform, but younger devotees have little interest in relaxing rules on sex, contraception and the priesthood.

Brigidine Sisters celebrate 140 years as educators, pioneers in Coonamble, NSW (ABC News)
Sept 17 – Sister Eileen Creagh can clearly remember the day she celebrated with the residents of Coonamble as the drought broke in the late 1940s.


Australian Catholic University condemned over ‘totally indefensible’ cuts to humanities programs (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 14 – The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has been condemned by local and international academics for its decision to axe dozens of humanities jobs in highly coveted departments, entirely disbanding institutes in philosophy and history.

Four years later, Scots College’s $29 million castle still hasn’t been built (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 14 – It’s been four years since Scots College won approval to demolish its library, and build a $29 million new student centre modelled on an extravagant Scottish baronial castle.

The Sydney private school charging parents $7275 just to secure enrolment (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 14 – Cranbrook’s fee is in excess of $7000, while Trinity Grammar has increased its enrolment charge by 80 per cent to $5000 this year.

Education Department ordered to pay compensation over Brighton Secondary College antisemitism (The Age, Melbourne)
Sept 14 – Victoria’s Education Department has been ordered to apologise and pay compensation to five former students of Jewish descent for failing to protect them from racial discrimination at Brighton Secondary College.

Parents at St Paul’s continue to protest the school’s decision to dismiss principal Dr Paul Browning
Sept 15 – The Anglican Schools Commission (ASC) has hit back at claims that a Brisbane principal was dismissed on the basis of a “toxic clash” with the Anglican Church.

Catholic Church

Pope tells Chinese Catholics to be good citizens, applauds Mongolia for religious peace  (ABC News)
Sept 4 – Pope Francis sent a special greeting to China’s “noble” people, giving them a special shout-out at the end of a Mass celebrated in Mongolia.

Letter shows Vatican knew about Nazi death camps despite long denial (Brisbane Times)
Sept 17 – Rome: Newly discovered correspondence suggests that World War II-era Pope Pius XII had detailed information from a trusted German Jesuit that up to 6000 Jews and Poles were being gassed each day in German-occupied Poland.


‘The show must go on’: 35,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews travel to Ukraine for Rosh Hashanah (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 17 – “Going to celebrate in a war zone en masse is crazy,” said Azoulay Ruben, a 22-year-old trainee dentist from Paris. “But at the same time, it’s a beautiful thing.”


French schools send home dozens of girls wearing Muslim abayas (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 6 – On the first day of the new academic year French schools sent home dozens of girls for refusing to remove their abayas, the education minister said on Tuesday.

Fiji deports South Korean doomsday ‘cult’ members as Grace Road Church leader slams arrests (ABC News)
Sept 8 – Police in Fiji arrested four members of a South Korean doomsday cult, deporting two and seeking the arrest of two others, but the group’s leader has denied a government minister’s claim he is “on the run”.

As 204 million vote to decide a new leader, their nation’s politicians will visit a shaman (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 16 – As Indonesians gear up to vote for a new president to succeed the outgoing Joko Widodo, age-old belief in spiritual forces persists.


Can religion be funny? These comedians joke about religious stereotypes  (ABC News)
Sept 17 – Australian Muslim comedian Frida Deguise got into stand-up by accident.


Jewish New Year is a time of reflection, repentance and renewal (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 10 – (Opinion: Yaakov Glasman) Among the rich tapestry of cultural and religious traditions that punctuate multicultural Victoria, the festival of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) carries a universal message that is not limited to the Jewish experience.


Facility accused of exorcisms and gay conversion practices applied for funding  (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 6 – Freedom of information documents show officials scrambling for information after then PM announced $4m for Esther Foundation

Busselton council candidate Stephen Wells stands by racist, anti-Semitic commentary (ABC News)
Sept 11 – A self-described “racist, sexist, democracy-scorning whites-lover” running for local government in Western Australia is standing by what he says are his “Christian” views.

‘Unique’ faith council tackles policy concerns (The Australian)
Sept 15 – NSW religious leaders will use a voice-like, ‘milestone’ council to push their own voices to Premier Chris Minns and his government’s faith-based policy program.


These women were told their babies would not survive – but Catholic-run public hospitals refused to provide abortions (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 6 – Both Jennifer and Amy were devastated when their wanted pregnancies were deemed unviable, but they were forced to go elsewhere when Catholic-run public hospitals would not terminate

Supermarkets, churches, fast food outlets: Sydney’s unexpected property developers (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 11 – Whether you are selling groceries, making hamburgers or spreading religion, the booming real estate market is allowing property owners to reap profits by building apartment towers.

Little White Church at Mangrove Mountain back in business after lengthy legal battle (ABC News)
Sept 12 – A much-loved church on the New South Wales Central Coast has been saved thanks to a hard-fought battle by locals and two high-profile Australians.

Presbyterian church of Australia bans acknowledgement of country at services (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 14 – The Presbyterian church has banned congregations across Australia from conducting an acknowledgment of country at their regular services, in a decision described as “extreme” and saddening by Indigenous Christians.