Religion News Australia

April 12 – 19, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



ABC skirts duty on Pell outcome (The Australian)
April 13 – (Opinion: Chris Mitchell) Were it run by a real editor, the ABC would have given more prominence to the High Court quashing the Pell conviction.

Pell’s jail diaries detail ‘petty humiliations’, job as roof gardener (The Age, Melbourne)
April 14  – Cardinal George Pell has released excerpts from his prison diary, which discuss aspects of his life in jail including the attitudes of corrections staff, humiliations he endured and his brief job as a gardener.

Cardinal George Pell reportedly facing fresh criminal investigation (
April 14  – Police have arrived at the NSW seminary where Cardinal George Pell is living amid reports he is facing fresh criminal investigations.

Also: Police investigating George Pell over fresh child sexual abuse allegation – report (The Guardian, Australia)
April 14 – Cardinal George Pell is being investigated by police over a new allegation of child sexual abuse, according to News Corp reports.

Pell’s 400 days of purgatory (The Australian)
April 14  – Keeping a 300,000-word journal helped George Pell in prison, the Cardinal now planning for a quieter life in Sydney.

George Pell warns against regarding accusations as ‘gospel truth’ in first TV interview since acquittal (ABC News)
April 14  – Cardinal George Pell has warned the pendulum of justice should not swing too far “so that every accusation is regarded as gospel truth” in a sit-down television interview with Sky News commentator Andrew Bolt.

Pell injustice shows need to restore fairness (The Australian)
April 15 – (Opinion: Janet Albrechtsen ) Accused must be permitted to defend themselves using all the available evidence.

Police ‘advertised’ for abuse cases: Pell (The Australian)
April 15  – Cardinal George Pell has said he ‘wouldn’t be entirely surprised’ if police continued to trawl for alleged victims of sexual abuse.

Andrew Bolt and the ABC: did the reporting on George Pell step over a line? (The Guardian, Australia)
April 15 – (Opinion: Margaret Simons) This week I rang the ABC investigative journalist Sarah Ferguson to ask what she thought of the attacks on Revelation, her television series about sex abuse in the Catholic church.

George Pell tells Andrew Bolt the man who testified against him may have been ‘used’ (The Guardian, Australia)
April 15  – Cardinal George Pell has described the complainant who testified against him as a “poor fellow” and claimed he may have been “used” in his first interview since his release from jail after being acquitted of historical child sexual abuse charges.

Pell convicted over lack of empathy (The Australian)
April 18 – (Opinion: Angela Shanahan ) In this age of public shaming and histrionics, the cardinal didn’t conform to the emotional script.

Victoria to blacklist institutions that fail to sign up to National Redress Scheme for sexual abuse (ABC News)
April 19  – The Victorian Government is threatening to deny funding to organisations that fail to join the National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse survivors by the June 30 deadline.


Paris Jackson to star as Jesus in upcoming movie ‘Habit’ (
April 16  – The 22-year-old daughter of Michael Jackson will play Jesus in the upcoming movie Habit, which has already filmed and is currently in the post-production phase, the film’s producer Donovan Leitch told Fox News.

Anglican Church

Church valuables moved to Tower of London amid looting fears (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 13  – London: The Church of England has moved valuables worth millions of pounds to the Tower of London amid fears of -looting during lockdown.

Archbishop of Uganda urges women to use contraception during lockdown (The Guardian, Australia)
April 19  – The new archbishop of Uganda has become the first primate of the country’s Anglican church to embrace the use of modern contraceptives after urging women to be “very careful” to avoid getting pregnant during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Catholic Church

Notre Dame’s great bell tolls in tribute to medics battling coronavirus pandemic (ABC News)
April 16  – A year on from the inferno that gutted the Notre Dame de Paris, the cathedral’s great bell rang out across the capital in a tribute to medics battling the coronavirus epidemic, prompting cheers from surrounding streets.


How Istanbul won back its crown as heart of the Muslim world (The Guardian, Australia)
April 19  – A ruined yali, or Bosphorus mansion, is still standing on the shore of the largest island of the Istanbul archipelago.

More than a billion Muslims anticipate ‘sad and quiet’ Ramadan in coronavirus isolation (ABC News)
April 19  – Some 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe will celebrate the most important month of the Islamic calendar very differently this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Religious Violence

Four IS suspects arrested over plot to attack US bases in Germany (Brisbane Times)
April 16  – Berlin: German authorities said police arrested four suspected members of the Islamic State group alleged to be planning an attack on American military facilities.

Opportunity or threat? How Islamic extremists are reacting to coronavirus (The Guardian, Australia)
April 16  – Islamic extremists hope to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic to launch new attacks, motivate followers and reinforce their credentials as alternative rulers of swaths of unstable countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

44 suspected Boko Haram members found dead in Chad prison (The Guardian, Australia)
April 19  – A group of 44 suspected members of Boko Haram who had been arrested in Chad during a recent operation against the jihadist group have been found dead in their prison cell, apparently poisoned, Chad’s chief prosecutor has announced.


After coronavirus, the penny has dropped that wellbeing isn’t individual but social (The Guardian, Australia)
April 12 – (Opinion: Tobias Jones) Hannah Arendt once wrote that in times of deep crisis “we have a right to expect illumination”.

Ortega defies church, risks nation for Easter (The Australian)
April 13  – Nicaragua’s leaders are encouraging religious festivals despite the Catholic Church suspending festivities due to the coronavirus.

‘It is part of my spiritual life’: the people who take running to the extreme (The Guardian, Australia)
April 16  – You might think that running around the same New York city block for 52 days straight would be an exercise in futility.

Oxford professor arrested on suspicion of ancient papyrus theft (The Guardian, Australia)
April 17  – An international mystery concerning the alleged theft of priceless ancient papyrus biblical fragments from a collection held at Oxford University has led to the arrest of a classics professor on suspicion of theft and fraud.

Greece to use drones to stop crowds gathering for Orthodox Easter (The Guardian, Australia)
April 18  – Greek authorities will deploy drones, monitor churches and ramp up street patrols as they prepare the nation for a very different Orthodox Easter in the age of Covid-19.

‘Our heritage is abandoned’: burning of Haitian church fuels anger at politicians (The Guardian, Australia)
April 18  – Cultural leaders in Haiti have described the gutting by fire of a celebrated 200-year-old church as an avoidable tragedy that highlights the fragility of the Caribbean nation’s patrimony – and the need to preserve its historical treasures.


Terrorists lose their appeals against convictions over mosque blaze (The Age, Melbourne)
April 17  – Two convicted terrorists who firebombed a mosque, amid planning an Islamic State-inspired attack on Melbourne landmarks, are to spend at least 28 years in prison after losing appeals against their convictions.


Like a prayer: These former churches are on the market across Australia (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 16  – When Mark Enright first saw the former Anglican church in Cooee, a suburb of Burnie in Tasmania, he jumped at the chance to own it.

Yazidi survivors’ bush refuge (The Australian)
April 18  – They survived the horrors of ISIS and landed in the welcoming arms of country Australia. How are the Yazidi faring?