Religion News Australia

November 8 – 15, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Priest urges Vatican to intervene as sexual misconduct allegations emerge from Diocese of Broome (ABC News)
Nov 9 – A second priest has broken ranks with the Catholic Church, going public with concerns about what he has described as the “abysmal and extremely unjust” Vatican response to sexual misconduct allegations at an outback diocese.

Senior Jesuits charged with historic sex offences at Sydney’s St Ignatius College Riverview (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 10 – Former Jesuit brothers at two of Australia’s most prestigious Catholic schools have been charged with historic child sex offences after allegations against them emerged recently.


Gay marriage wasn’t quite settled for the faithful – but at last, there’s blessed relief (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 14 – (Opinion: Julia Baird) On Wednesday afternoon, the Venerable Dr John Davis, a priest in Wangaratta, was sitting at home with his husband, Father Rob Whalley, in his sunny living room, staring out at the garden and anxiously pressing refresh on his computer screen.

Sydney Anglican priest forced to resign because his marriage broke down (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 14 – One of Sydney’s most high-profile Anglican priests has been forced to resign from his church or face the sack because his wife walked out on him.


Missing Google searches revealed in Cardinal George Pell contempt trial (
Nov 10 – A Victorian prosecutor has admitted she “made a mistake” when she failed to disclose for almost two years that Google search attempts to find overseas stories on Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse conviction were unsuccessful.

Also: Ibac won’t investigate allegations Vatican funds were sent to Australia to frame George Pell (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 11 – Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission says it will not investigate claims that Vatican funds were sent to Australia as part of a conspiracy to frame George Pell for child sex offences.

Prosecutors in George Pell contempt case drop more than a dozen charges against media (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 13 – Prosecutors have dropped more than a dozen charges against reporters and media companies over their coverage of Cardinal George Pell’s sexual abuse convictions.


Departing UQ law dean bound for Ramsay Centre program role (Brisbane Times)
Nov 12 – University of Queensland law school dean Patrick Parkinson AM, whose comments about transgender children made him the target of criticism during his two-year tenure, will join the university’s Ramsay Centre-backed program.

Anglican Church

Church of England could rethink stance on LGBTQ+ issues by 2022 (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 10 – The Church of England could make a historic change to traditional teaching on sexuality in less than two years after bishops promised that decisions on issues that have riven the church for decades would be taken in 2022.

Catholic Church

IBAC says it won’t investigate George Pell Vatican wire transfer claims (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 11 – Victoria’s anti-corruption agency says it will not investigate allegations that Vatican funds were used in an attempt to secure child sex abuse charges against Cardinal George Pell, finding there was not enough merit in the claims.

Police identify man suspected of theft of Pope John Paul II’s blood (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 14 – Italian police have identified the man suspected of stealing a vial containing the blood of Pope John Paul II from a cathedral in the Umbria region.


Porn fugitive launches ‘moral revolution’ (The Australian)
Nov 11 – Three years after he fled Indonesia, firebrand Islamist leader Rizieq Shihab has returned to launch a moral revolution.

Religious Violence

African villagers beheaded in jihadist massacre (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 11 – Johannesburg: Families in Northern Mozambique have begun to bury their dead after Jihadists massacred up to 50 people in the past three days, beheading and dismembering several victims.

France condemns ‘cowardly attack’ on Remembrance Day service in Jeddah (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 12 – An apparent terrorist attack in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Wednesday appears to have targeted a ceremony marking the end of World War I.

Also: Islamic State claims responsibility for attack on Remembrance Day event  (ABC News)
Nov 13 – The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for an attack on a non-Muslim cemetery in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah which wounded several people.

Also: Islamic State group claims attack at Saudi WWI ceremony (The Age, Melbourne)
Nov 13 – Beirut: The Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Thursday for the explosion the previous day at a cemetery in Saudi Arabia, saying it primarily targeted French diplomats attending the ceremony in remembrance of the end of World War I.

‘They just slaughter them’: how sorcery violence spreads fear across Papua New Guinea (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 14 – In the highland villages and the lowland towns of Papua New Guinea, it is the crime that everybody knows about, that many see, but that few can, or do, anything to stop.

Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 killed by Israeli operatives in Iran (Brisbane Times)
Nov 14 – Washington: Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, accused of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran in August by Israeli operatives acting at the behest of the United States, The New York Times reported, citing intelligence officials.

Nice church attack and teacher’s beheading are linked: prosecutors (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 15 – Paris: The man suspected of knifing to death three people in a church in the French city of Nice had on his telephone pictures of the man who beheaded a middle school teacher near Paris 13 days earlier, prosecutors have revealed.


Sacked Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz’s daughter comes out in support of cheating father (
Nov 9 – For the first time since disgraced Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz admitted to having an affair, his teenage daughter has responded on social media.

Soul of the nation: how Joe Biden’s faith will shape his presidency (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 10 – He carries a rosary in his pocket, one that belonged to his dead son, Beau.

God only knows what’s going on in US (The Australian)
Nov 11 – (Opinion: Jack the Insider) The world of US televangelists is in uproar. They did not hear the sound of a Joe Biden victory. Lord knows, they don’t like it.

Ancient Egyptian coffins, statues dating back 2,500 years found in Saqqara (ABC News)
Nov 14 – Egyptian antiquities officials have announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo.


Sydney man who planned terrorist act jailed for 12 years after being carried into court (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 11 – A New South Wales man who has been jailed for at least 12 years for planning a terrorist attack has been warned he may still be detained after his sentence is served.

Muslims, Chinese Australians and Indigenous people most targeted in racist media coverage (ABC News)
Nov 13 – When Nayma Bilal went to a Sydney beach wearing a niqab, a stranger walked up to her and told her to “get out of this country, you don’t belong here”.


Fringe Church pastor Ron Hutchinson rehabilitates domestic violence offenders through conversation (ABC News)
Nov 9 – Can you keep someone out of prison, off drugs or stop them from lashing out violently just by having a conversation?

Fortescue accused of ‘bullying’ Aboriginal groups to allow destruction of sacred sites (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 14 – Aboriginal traditional owners in the Pilbara have accused mining giant Fortescue Metals Group, of “bullying, dismissive, disrespectful behaviour” they say is “inconsistent with their published values and the expected behaviours of an ASX Top Ten company”.

Why a good philosophical aphorism can be so powerful (ABC News)
Nov 15 –  (Opinion: David Rutledge) When we think about philosophy, we usually think big.