Religion News Australia

Nov 10 – 17, 2019

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘Nothing general about this case’: Pell set to learn High Court decision (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 11 – Cardinal George Pell will learn on Wednesday whether the High Court will hear an appeal against his conviction for historical child sex offences.

Also: Full bench of the High Court to consider George Pell’s fate (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 13 – Disgraced Cardinal George Pell will remain isolated in his prison cell for months before learning whether the full bench of the High Court will consider his bid for freedom.

Also: Pell’s next-to-last chance: Cardinal takes final prayer to secular law (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 14 – And still there continues this saga concerning the church and the secular courts of man … and the once mighty, currently fallen.

Also: Top court clears way for a Pell rethink (The Australian)
Nov 14 – The High Court has left the way open for a ­complete reassessment of the evidence in Pell’s case.

Also: Mission impossible for Pell defence (The Australian)
Nov 15 – (Opinion: Chris Merritt) At one point in the trial an alarm should’ve screamed ‘reasonable doubt’ in every juror’s ear.

Also: George Pell’s appeal to the High Court (The Saturday Paper)
Nov 16 – (Opinion: Russell Marks) The High Court’s decision to hear George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for five counts of sexually assaulting choirboys was met with dismay by survivors of clergy abuse and their advocates.

Peter Hollingworth would lose entitlements due to handling of abuse allegations  (ABC News)
Nov 13 – A federal senator has proposed new laws that could strip former governor-general Peter Hollingworth of millions of dollars in public benefits over his mishandling of sex abuse complaints in the Anglican church.


Anglican bishop says water’s spiritual need should be recognised as ACCC water inquiry underway  (ABC News)
Nov 16 – The Right Reverend Bishop Donald Kirk says that water needs to be seen as a physical and spiritual fundamental, rather than a commodity, as hearings for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into the water market take place.


‘You ruined me’: New Zealand’s abuse survivors speak at landmark inquiry (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 16 – Survivors are given a voice at first public hearings of investigation into historical abuse of thousands of children in state and faith-based care

Three more altar boys say they were abused by priests in Vatican (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 16 – Three more former altar boys have claimed they were sexually abused by two priests in the Vatican, as the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church zeroed in for a second time on its headquarters.

Catholic Church

Medieval Catholicism explains the differences between cultures to this day, researchers say (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 15 – Washington: A sweeping theory published Thursday in the journal Science posits a new explanation for the divergent course of Western civilisation from the rest of the world: The early Catholic Church reshaped family structures, and by doing so, changed human psychology forever after.

The Pope thinks big tech companies need to do a better job of protecting children (
Nov 15 – Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has said technology company executives and investors must be held accountable if they put profit before the protection of children, including from easy access to pornography on the web.


When it comes to Islamophobia, Tory eyes are still wide shut (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 11 – (Opinion: Nesrine Malik) The black protagonist of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man struggles to divine the correct norms and beliefs in a world where he is invisible because white people refuse to see him.


Age-old hatred re-emerges out of left field (The Australian)
Nov 14 – (Opinion: Peter Kurti ) Anti-Semitism, commonly part of the far right, has taken a turn for the worse.

Religious Violence

Better if IS boss was taken alive: Corbyn (The Australian)
Nov 14 – Boris Johnson condemns Jeremy Corbyn for wanting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi captured alive.

Islamic Jihad says Israel agrees to truce after rockets rain down (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 14 – Gaza: Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad says Israel has agreed to an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire to stop the cross-border rocket salvos that has seen dozens killed in the past two days.

Why the Taliban’s imprisonment of Australian Timothy Weeks has gone largely unnoticed until now (ABC News)
Nov 15 – “I feel like you have abandoned me.”

Two gay Saudi journalists ‘treated like criminals’ in Australia after seeking asylum (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 16 – Two Saudi journalists who fled the country after one was interrogated and threatened with their relationship being outed by authorities have been detained in Australia after seeking asylum.


Bryson warns English churches at risk (
Nov 16 – Author Bill Bryson has warned that harsh weather linked to climate change will leave hundreds of English churches at risk of destruction or closure this winter.

Japanese Emperor Naruhito takes part in sacred goddess ritual to ‘transform’ him (ABC News)
Nov 15 – Japanese Emperor Naruhito has performed an elaborate and secretive ritual dating back 1,300 years, giving thanks to the sun goddess Amaterasu as part of his enthronement rites.

Notre Dame rebuild leader tells chief architect to ‘shut his mouth’ over spire  (ABC News)
Nov 16 – The French army general charged with the rebuilding of Paris’ fire-ravaged Notre Dame is rebuked by the Government after telling the chief architect to “shut his mouth” in a sign of tension over the cathedral’s future appearance.

School chaplain resigns after suggesting gay people should stay single (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 16 – A chaplain at a private school created by the founder of the Methodist church has stood down after suggesting that gay people should stay single.

Kanye West is spreading the gospel of white evangelicals (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 16 – Kanye West’s middle name, Omari, means “God is highest.”


US offers to rescue Australian Islamic State families in Syria (ABC News)
Nov 16 – The United States is offering to rescue the Australian families of Islamic State (IS) group fighters trapped in Syria, as it ramps up pressure on countries to repatriate their citizens from the war zone.

Also: ‘Nothing has changed’: Australia unmoved by US offer to rescue IS families (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 16 – The Morrison government says “nothing has changed” about its response to the families of Islamic State fighters trapped in Syria, despite a public offer from the United States to use its military assets to help remove more than 60 Australian women and children being held in camps there.

Also: Turkey tells Australia to take IS fighters (The Australian)
Nov 16 – Turkey is moving to deport up to three captured ISIS prisoners to Australia and urged the Morrison government to accept them.


Jim Chalmers: ‘I don’t think much of the Prime Minister’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 16 – Each week, Benjamin Law asks public figures to discuss the subjects we’re told to keep private by getting them to roll a die.


Religious freedom bill ‘will sustain nastiness and hostility’, Michael Kirby warns (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 11 – The Coalition’s religious freedom bill will result in a rise in both religious intolerance and anti-religious hostility, threatening secularism in Australia, Michael Kirby has warned.

When the bin chicken was a god: new research sheds light on ancient ibis (Brisbane Times)
Nov 14 – The humble bin chicken is maligned by many in Australia as a pest, but say that in ancient Egypt and you might be put to death.

The money lenders in the temple after head monk racks up big property debts (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 17 – For sale: Buddhist temple.

Psychic helps six ghosts check out of The Royal Hotel (The West Australian)
Nov 17 – When John Parker had an inkling that the spirits in his new pub weren’t just Smirnoff, Bombay Sapphire and Jack Daniels, he called ghostbuster Lisa Throssell.


From the Archive…

Religion News Australia 2019 – 21 (Oct 30 – Nov 3)

Religion News Australia 2019 – 20 (May 12 – 19)

Religion News Australia 2019 – 19 (May 5 – 12)

Religion News Australia 2019 – 18 (Apr 28 – May 5)