Religion News Australia

October 4 – 11, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



National Redress Scheme applicant numbers lower, prompting calls for urgent investigation (ABC News)
Oct 4 – David Francis is waiting for a dollar figure to be put on the sexual abuse he suffered as a child growing up in Catholic institutions in Western Australia.

Abuse survivors despair as Pell conspiracy breaks cover (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 10 – At the mention of George Pell, the old man became enraged.


The sound of an Adelaide community’s joys and sorrows is ringing out once again (ABC News)
Oct 4 – After a long, “strange” silence, church bells that had marked the most important moments in the life of one Adelaide community for more than 150 years are ringing once again.

Adelaide female Anglican priest barred from practising because of marriage to woman (ABC News)
Oct 5 – An Adelaide-based Anglican priest has accused the church of discrimination after she was refused permission to say mass and celebrate sacraments because of her marriage to another woman.


25 years of His Dark Materials: Philip Pullman on the journey of a lifetime (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 10 – (Opinion: Philip Pullman) It was 1993 when I thought of Lyra and began writing His Dark Materials.

Why Justin Bieber and Kanye West may be the new faces of modern Christianity (ABC News)
Oct 11 – In less than a month, Justin Bieber’s song Holy has racked up more than 50 million views.

So what’s so funny about America’s painful history of racism? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 11 – (Review)  Several years ago, someone gave actor Ethan Hawke a copy of James McBride’s novel The Good Lord Bird as a gift.

Saint Maud review – a chilling nurse on a mission from God (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 11 – (Review)  “To save a soul, that’s quite something.” So says Maud, the newly God-fearing subject of Rose Glass’s electrifying debut feature, which establishes the writer-director as a thrilling new talent in British cinema.


George Pell’s lawyer calls for investigation into claim bribes paid to influence sexual assault case (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 5 – The barrister who led the defence of Cardinal George Pell says an international investigation should be launched into extraordinary claims that bribes were paid to influence the sexual assault case involving the senior Australian cleric.

Tasmanian chapter of Concerned Catholics says church must change or face empty pews (ABC News)
Oct 6 – Catholics in Tasmania are joining forces with a national lobby group within the Church to push for change and to “bring it into the 21st century”.

Religious Violence

Alleged Islamic State militants known as ‘Beatles’ to face charges in United States (ABC News)
Oct 6 – Two alleged Islamic State militants known as the ‘Beatles’ will arrive in the United States to face trial on terrorism charges, relating to their alleged involvement in the beheadings of American hostages in Syria.

Battle for the soul of a holy village at heart of Armenia’s escalating feud with Azerbaijan (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 9 – Shushi, Nagorno-Karabakh: In a war with no shortage of random shelling, it was one shot that was unmistakably on target. The Azerbaijani missile plunged straight into the roof of a cultural centre in the Nagorno-Karabakh town of Shushi, just as Armenian security forces were sheltering inside.


US Supreme Court nominee served as a ‘handmaid’ in conservative Christian group (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 8 – Providence: Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett served as a “handmaid”, the term then used for high-ranking female leaders in the People of Praise religious community.

Lindsey Graham, reverse ferret: how John McCain’s spaniel became Trump’s poodle (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 11 – (Opinion: Sidney Blumenthal) That Lindsey Graham would become Donald Trump’s poodle was not a tale (or tail) foretold.

Holy war: Republicans eager to focus Amy Coney Barrett hearings on religion (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 11 – When Donald Trump’s latest supreme court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, arrives before the Senate judiciary committee for her confirmation hearings on Monday, Democrats will be out to raise an alarm that Barrett could help strike down the Affordable Care Act in the very first case she hears.


Uyghur poet Fatimah Abdulghafur’s father died in China two years ago. She only just found out (ABC News)
Oct 10 – Fatimah Abdulghafur hasn’t heard her father’s voice since he left an alarming message asking her to call him “urgently”.


Fresh schools discrimination clash for Andrews’ government (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 10 – The Andrews government faces a clash in State Parliament this week over claims it is “turning a blind eye” to blatant religious discrimination in Victorian schools.


Sabbath seems counter-cultural but is as important as ever (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 2 – (Opinion: Philip Freier) Living through the COVID-19 pandemic certainly makes each of us aware of real-time data. Each day we wait to hear the new numbers of infections and other familiar indicators. It can often seem as if we are living in an attitude of daily hyper-awareness.

Lindy Lee explores Chinese-Australian identity in major Sydney exhibition  (ABC News)
Oct 8 – In her work The Seamless Tomb, currently on show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, artist Lindy Lee replicates a black-and-white family photograph from the mid-40s: it shows her heavily pregnant mother, older brother and father, just before her dad left China for Australia — not knowing when he’d see his family again.

Bendigo cemetery bell fixed to honour community volunteer Helen Bruinier’s dying wish (ABC News)
Oct 8 – Helen Bruinier did not want any unfinished business after she died, so she left a to-do list with her son, Leo.

We should be counting years of life lost or saved (The Age, Melbourne)
Oct 9 – (Opinion: Peter Singer) For the past three months, Melbourne, this metropolitan area of nearly five million people, the capital of the Australian state of Victoria, has been under one of the world’s tightest lockdowns.

In our divided age, nothing makes me happier than sincerely changing my mind (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 9 – (Opinion: Hannah Jane Parkinson) Reasoned discussion is a pleasure, and coming to a different view doesn’t always indicate fair-weather flimsiness

Margaret Court to challenge Lotterywest ban on grant funding (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 10 – Tennis champion Margaret Court will lodge an equal opportunities complaint against the WA government after the state’s lotteries commission refused to fund her charity because of her “biblical views on same-sex marriage”.