Religion News Australia

Sept 20 – 27, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Accused child sex abuser Malka Leifer to be extradited to Australia (The Age, Melbourne)
Sept 21 – Accused child sex abuser Malka Leifer will be extradited to Australia, according to a final ruling judgment handed down by the Jerusalem District Court on Monday.

Also: Israeli court rules Malka Leifer should be extradited to Australia, but obstacles remain (ABC News)
Sept 23 – The Jerusalem District Court has ruled Malka Leifer should be extradited to Australia.

Pell breaks (garlic) bread at Circular Quay Italian diner (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 25 – Cardinal George Pell has kept an ultra-low profile since walking out of Victoria’s Barwon Prison on April 7 following a High Court decision to overturn his conviction on charges of historical sex abuse.


Catholic uni proves a good Samaritan for poet (The Australian)
Sept 24 – Poet Geoff Page is a self-­confessed agnostic, but that didn’t stop him picking up his second $10,000 ACU Poetry Prize.


‘Spit on homeless man’: Shore School year 12s plan crime-filled muck-up day (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 22 – Shore School in North Sydney has alerted police to a crime-filled rampage being planned by year 12s, with a leaked document prepared by students detailing how assaults, trespassing, drug-taking and other challenges would earn points as part of a scavenger hunt.

Also: Sydney’s Shore School threatens to expel students over ‘appalling’ muck-up day scavenger hunt
Sept 23 – A prestigious Sydney school has threatened to expel anyone who takes part in a “muck-up day” scavenger hunt which would see students spit on homeless people and defecate in trains.

Also: ‘This is not who we are’: Shore blames small group of boys for muck-up day rampage  plans (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 24 – The Shore School headmaster has blamed a small group of students for promoting illegal and disrespectful year 12 muck-up day activities, saying the plot had cast a shadow over the school’s reputation and was not representative of its culture.

Also: Shore boys’ bad behaviour is a way of rebelling against an exclusive system (ABC News)
Sept 25 – (Opinion: David Taylor) I went to the Sydney Church of England Grammar School — Shore School — during the 1990s.

Also: More elite Sydney schools drawn into ‘criminal’ muck-up day fiasco (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 25 – More prestigious Sydney schools have been drawn into the controversy over year 12 muck-up days, with the rector of St Aloysius’ College in Milsons Point condemning student plans he described as criminal and more gross than anything he had previously witnessed at the school.

Also: Shore School’s disgusting past revealed amid muck-up day list scandal (
Sept 25 – Shore School boasts of its “strong emphasis on character formation” which challenges students to be “responsible citizens of integrity who seek to serve the wider community”.

Catholic Church

Relic of Pope John Paul II’s blood stolen from Italian cathedral (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 25 – Rome: A gold and crystal casing holding drops of the blood of Saint Pope John Paul II has been stolen from the cathedral of the central Italian city of Spoleto, its bishop said.

Powerful Vatican cardinal resigns amid scandal (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 25 – Rome: The powerful head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, Angelo Becciu, has resigned suddenly from the post and renounced his rights as a cardinal amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly.

Also: Key Vatican cardinal Angelo Becciu resigns after being caught up in real estate scandal (ABC News)
Sept 25 – A powerful Vatican cardinal has suddenly resigned amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly.


Israel fines thousands of lockdown breakers (The Australian)
Sept 21 – Police fine thousands for violating country’s restrictions as the Jewish High Holy Days arrive.

How a tale of murder and forgiveness inspired a rabbi at Yom Kippur (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 22 – Synagogues often stage overflow services for Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism, but with social distancing limiting attendance numbers, the London rabbi Yoni Golker had to think of a new way to reach his congregation.

Religious Violence

China’s still building detention camps in Xinjiang — and they’re getting even bigger (ABC News)
Sept 24 – China appears to be expanding its network of secret detention facilities for Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, despite official claims that all detainees have been released from the camps.

Terrorism investigation launched after two wounded in Paris knife attack  (ABC News)
Sept 26 – A man armed with a meat cleaver has attacked and wounded two people in front of the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.


‘I’m saving her for Ginsburg’: who is Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s likely supreme court pick? (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 21 – Progressives fear the judge reportedly close to being picked to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg will reverse abortion rights. Friends and colleagues say a focus on her religion is unfair.

Archaeologists in Egypt unearth dozens of unopened coffins buried more than 2,500 years ago (ABC News)
Sept 22 – Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed more than two dozen ancient coffins in a vast necropolis south of Cairo.

Cult leader who claims to be reincarnation of Jesus arrested in Russia (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 24 – Russian authorities mounted a special operation to arrest a former traffic police officer who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus and has run a cult based in the depths of Siberia for the past three decades.


Muslim families in Gippsland struggle to access halal products during coronavirus lockdown (ABC News)
Sept 27 – Sourcing culturally appropriate foods in regional areas is difficult at the best of times, and for Muslim residents throughout Gippsland in Victoria’s east, strict lockdown travel rules have complicated shopping for groceries even more.


Yom Kippur is the Jewish holy day to reflect on mortality — and it’s all the more pertinent in 2020 (ABC News)
Sept 27 – When Ash Shenker logs onto the computer each day, he doesn’t wear pyjamas or trackpants — like many Australians in lockdown — but rather, two black boxes with leather straps.


MP’s surprise resignation sets scene for Christian right v moderates (Brisbane Times)
Sept 21 – The battle between the Christian right and the moderates for number one on the LNP Senate ticket may be determined at preselection for the seat of Groom.

Australia should ban imports linked to forced Uyghur labour in China, crossbench senator says (ABC News)
Sept 25 – Australia should ban products made by Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in forced labour camps in western China, according to a key senate crossbencher.


Why Christian Scientists believe in ‘prayerful healing’ — and what they think of a COVID-19 vaccine (ABC News)
Sept 21 – Joy Hughes was born into the Christian Science church thanks, in part, to the curious mind and unexplained ailments of her grandfather, Ronald Vickers.

Right-wing extremists using Islamic State tactics to recruit, ASIO warns, amid spike in surveillance (ABC News)
Sept 22 – Australia’s domestic spy agency has revealed a dramatic rise in the number of violent right-wing extremists under surveillance, while warning some groups are now employing Islamic State-style radicalisation tactics.