Religion News Australia

July 12 – 19, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)


Roebourne Holy Trinity church revived after decades of neglect and ready for 125th birthday (ABC News)
July 19 – The oldest church in Australia’s north-west has been revived after decades of neglect and near collapse, thanks in part to a large anonymous donation.


Seven pulls 10-part ‘world exclusive’ series on Scientology on day it was due to air (The Guardian, Australia)
July 16 – Seven has mysteriously spiked a 10-part “world exclusive” series on Scientology on the day it was scheduled to air.

CrossBread: Megan Washington’s musical megachurch mockumentary is a joy to listen to (The Guardian, Australia)
July 15 – It’s 2015 in suburban Melbourne.


How I survived hell on earth (The Australian)
July 14 – (Opinion: George Pell) George Pell reveals how he was spat on and abused by fellow prisoners while serving time in jail.


Brisbane Christian school found to have discriminated against boy by demanding haircut (The Guardian, Australia)
July 13 – A private Christian school in Brisbane has been found to have discriminated against a five-year-old Cook Islands boy for threatening to expel him for having long hair, grown for cultural reasons.

Cluster college operates like club (The Australian)
July 14 – The Islamic college at the centre of one of Victoria’s largest coronavirus clusters operates under an informal governance structure.


Vatican says bishops should report sex abuse to police (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 17 – Vatican City: The Vatican has told bishops around the world they should report cases of clergy sex crimes to police even when not legally bound to do so, in its latest effort to compel church leaders to protect minors from predator priests.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis ‘deeply pained’ by Turkey’s decision to reopen Hagia Sophia museum as a mosque (ABC News)
July 13 – Pope Francis says he is “deeply pained” over the decision by Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia — which was originally built in Istanbul as a Christian cathedral — from a museum to a mosque.

Also: Pope Francis ‘very distressed’ over Hagia Sophia mosque move (The Guardian, Australia)
July 13 – Pope Francis has said he was “very distressed” over Turkey’s decision to convert the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.


‘Thank you, our glorious revolution’: activists react as Sudan ditches Islamist laws (The Guardian, Australia)
July 16 – Sudan’s transitional government has been praised for its latest reforms, which decriminalise apostasy, ban female genital mutilation (FGM) and end the requirement for women to get travel permits.

‘Great first step’ as Sudan lifts death penalty and flogging for gay sex (Brisbane Times)
July 18 – Amman: Sudan’s decision to lift the death penalty and flogging as punishment for gay sex has been hailed by LGBT+ activists as a promising sign after almost four decades of Islamist rule, with calls for prison sentences to be abolished as well.

Religious Violence

Christchurch mosque gunman will represent himself at sentencing (Brisbane Times)
July 13 – Christchurch: An Australian man who pleaded guilty to killing 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in 2019 has decided to represent himself a month ahead of the sentencing hearing, the court said on Monday.

Two men to stand trial in France for killing of Jewish woman, 85 (The Guardian, Australia)
July 14 – French judges have ordered two men to stand trial for the brutal 2018 killing of an elderly Jewish woman that prompted an outcry over a rise in antisemitic acts.

Shamima Begum wins right to return to UK to challenge citizenship decision (The Guardian, Australia)
July 16 – Shamima Begum, the 20-year-old woman who left east London as a schoolgirl to join Islamic State, should be allowed to return to the UK to challenge the Home Office’s decision to revoke her British citizenship in person.

Also: IS bride can return to Britain to appeal citizenship loss, court rules (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 17 – London: A schoolgirl who shocked Britain by joining the Islamic State terror group in Syria must be allowed to return to London to appeal the revocation of her citizenship, a court has ruled in a decision with serious ramifications for hardline foreign fighter laws.


South Korea probes church over massive cluster (ABC News)
July 18 – South Korean prosecutors have questioned the leader of a secretive church sect over accusations it hampered the Government’s anti-virus response after thousands of COVID-19 infections were detected among its members in February and March.

Arson suspected in fire at historic French cathedral in Nantes (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 19 – Fire has damaged a historic 15th-century cathedral in the western French city of Nantes, blowing out stained glass windows and destroying the grand organ.


Melbourne Muslims feel ‘unfairly tarnished’ by reports linking them to rising COVID-19 cases (ABC News)
July 16 – The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has warned against scapegoating the Muslim community for the rising number of coronavirus cases in Melbourne while backing calls from AFL star Bachar Houli for more people to get tested.

Uyghur father in Australia fears for his wife and children trapped in Xinjiang (ABC News)
July 19 – Mamutjan Abdurehim hasn’t been able to hug his wife or young children in almost five years.


Clover Moore: ‘Christ was a real radical. He took on the establishment’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 19 – Benjamin Law talks to Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore.


Why the chaos of 2020 is turning us all into philosophers (ABC News)
July 13 – (Opinion: David Rutledge ) If you haven’t yet spent a few moments this year staring out the window, chin in hand and ruminating on the meaning of life — or its absence — then the chances are it’s only a matter of time.

Meet the Sikhs who keep coming to the rescue for vulnerable Victorians (The Age, Melbourne)
July 19 – In 2017, when Sikh volunteers began distributing free meals to the homeless from a van in Tooradin and Frankston, they were curious: would people like their vegetarian Punjabi curries?