Religion News Australia

March 29 – April 5, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Two new accusers say George Pell abused them when they were boys in the 1970s (ABC News)
April 2  – For decades, 53-year-old Bernie* kept the secrets of his childhood deeply buried.

Also: More alleged victims of George Pell to have abuse claims aired on (ABC News) (The Age, Melbourne)
April 3 – Two men have publicly detailed allegations they were sexually abused as boys by George Pell in the 1970s.

Also: George Pell accusers air sexual abuse claim against the Cardinal (
April 3 – As George Pell waits for the decision on his appeal on Tuesday, two separate accusers have aired sexual abuse accusations him.

High Court comes to swift judgment in George Pell case (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 2  – The High Court’s swift judgment in the case of George Pell has fuelled expectations that Australia’s most-senior Catholic cleric could walk free from jail before Easter.

Catholic Church

Book lifts lid on ‘guerrilla warfare’ against Pope Francis (The Guardian, Australia)
April 5  – An influential conservative cardinal has established himself as a “parallel authority” to Pope Francis, according to a new book that depicts the pontiff as a prophetic reformer who is surrounded by opponents waging “guerrilla warfare” against him.

Religious Violence

Taliban deal closer as team arrives to oversee prisoner exchange (The Age, Melbourne)
April 1  – Kabul: A three-member Taliban technical team has arrived in the Afghan capital to monitor the release of their prisoners as part of a peace deal signed by the Taliban and the US, a spokesman for the insurgent group said.

Terror investigation opened as knifeman kills two in France (Brisbane Times)
April 5  – Paris: A man wielding a knife attacked residents of a French town as they ventured out to shop on Saturday amid a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, killing two people and wounding five others, in an act that led authorities to open a terrorism inquiry.


Florida megachurch pastor arrested for breaching Covid-19 health order (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 31  – Florida officials have arrested the pastor of a megachurch accused of holding two Sunday services with hundreds of people and violating a safer-at-home order in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Megachurch meeting in Mulhouse seeded France’s coronavirus epidemic (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 2  – Paris: The prayer meeting at an evangelical church in Mulhouse, a small city in eastern France near the border with Germany and Switzerland, was just the latest in a series of such annual gatherings going back a generation.

California megachurch linked to spread of more than 70 coronavirus cases (The Guardian, Australia)
April 4  – A California megachurch has found itself at the center of a coronavirus outbreak after public health officials connected it to 71 cases , even as church leaders say they have been unfairly blamed for failing to take action to stop the spread among church members.

The rightwing Christian preachers in deep denial over Covid-19’s danger (The Guardian, Australia)
April 4 – Last Sunday in Tampa, Florida, the Pentecostal pastor and conspiracy theorist Rodney Howard-Browne conducted two services for full houses at his River church.


Activist defends failed constitutional challenge against Frydenberg (The Age, Melbourne)
April 4 – Michael Staindl has mixed feelings about his controversial and failed attempt to unseat Treasurer Josh Frydenberg from Parliament.

What does under ‘strict supervision’ actually mean? (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 5  – On a packet of Passover matzos, it reads: “Under the strict supervision of the Chief Rabbinate of Jerusalem.”


Scott Morrison prays for Australia in video for Christians (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 1  – Scott Morrison has revealed he is praying for the state and territory leaders during the coronavirus pandemic, describing the crisis as a time of “great need and suffering” in an online video.

Also: Scott Morrison prays for Australia and commits nation to God amid coronavirus crisis (The Guardian, Australia)
April 1 – Scott Morrison has offered a prayer for the national cabinet to stay “strong and united” and committed the Australian nation to God during times of “great need and suffering” as it responds to Covid-19.

Also: Scott Morrison is a genuine Christian – of course he’s going to pray (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 4 – (Opinion: Julia Baird) Jesus Christ was trending on Twitter yesterday.

PM says places of worship to be considered workplaces over Easter (ABC News)
April 5  – The Prime Minister says places of worship will be considered workplaces over the Easter festival to accommodate the extra religious figures required to conduct rituals.


Beyond the church: How Australia’s sacred spaces are evolving (ABC News)
April 5  – Churches hold a long-lasting life and place in Australia’s culture, but increasing numbers of them are no longer used for their original purpose.

Why religious apocalyptic texts can offer us solace during the coronavirus crisis (ABC News)
April 5  – From unprecedented bushfires over summer to the global spread of a deadly pandemic, 2020 has felt “apocalyptic” to many.