Religion News Australia

November 22 – 29, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Pope Francis sued by three Australians allegedly sexually assaulted by Melbourne paedophile priest  (ABC News)
Nov 27 – Three men who were allegedly sexually assaulted by a paedophile priest are suing Pope Francis, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne and the Catholic Church.

Catholic Church

Pope, for first time, says China’s Uighurs are ‘persecuted’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 24 – Vatican City: In a new book, Pope Francis for the first time calls China’s Muslim Uighurs a “persecuted” people, something human rights activists have been urging him to do for years.

Church cancels world’s largest Catholic pilgrimage over pandemic (Brisbane Times)
Nov 25 – Mexico City: Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church announced the cancellation on Monday of what’s considered the world’s largest Catholic pilgrimage, for the Virgin of Guadalupe, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let Us Dream by Pope Francis review – the holy father of fraternity (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 29 – Not long into these reflections on the lessons of a traumatic year, Pope Francis offers a line from his favourite poet, Friedrich Hölderlin: “Where the danger is, grows the saving power.”

Pope installs new cardinals, including first African American (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 29 – Pope Francis has installed 13 new cardinals, including the first African American to hold the high rank, further expanding the pontiff’s impact on the group that will one day elect his successor.

Pell, vice and the Vatican (The Australian)
Nov 29 – (Opinion: Paola Totaro) The cardinal battles sinister foes as the Pope’s money tsar.


Leading Saudi women’s activist referred to terrorism court (Brisbane Times)
Nov 26 – Dubai: A leading Saudi women’s rights activist who’s been imprisoned for 2 1/2 years and drawn attention to the kingdom’s hard limits on dissent will be tried by a court established to oversee terrorism cases, her family said on Wednesday.

Halima Aden steps away from modelling after reassessing how her hijab has been used  (ABC News)
Nov 27 – Somali-American Muslim model Halima Aden is taking a step back from the fashion industry, after years of wearing various non-hijab head coverings in photoshoots.

Religious Violence

Islamic State claims Afghanistan attack as Mike Pompeo holds his final peace talks (ABC News)
Nov 23 – As mortar shells slammed into a residential area of Afghanistan’s capital, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has held what are likely his last meetings with Taliban and Afghan Government negotiators trying to negotiate peace.

Stabbing in California church leaves two dead, many injured (
Nov 23 – Two people have died in a stabbing in a church in California on Sunday night local time, and multiple other people are “seriously wounded,” according to San Jose police and the city’s mayor Sam Liccardo.

Islamic State targets Africa in tectonic terror shift (The Australian)
Nov 26 – (Opinion: Catherine Philp ) Jihadis are exploiting sub-Saharan unrest, as far-right fanatics terrorise the West.

Teenage pupils charged over horror decapitation of French teacher Samuel Paty (
Nov 27 – Four teenage pupils have been charged over the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty, including three who allegedly pointed him out to the terrorist who would kill him.

Boko Haram kill dozens of farm workers in Nigeria (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 29 – Boko Haram fighters killed at least 43 farm workers and wounded six in rice fields near the north-east Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, anti-jihadist militia told AFP.

Suspected militants kill four Christians in remote Indonesian village (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 29 – Police in Indonesia were on Saturday hunting suspected militants accused of killing four people said by rights groups to be Christians, beheading one and burning down their homes.


Netflix miniseries sparks controversy in India over kiss between Hindu woman and Muslim man (ABC News)
Nov 26 – It was meant to be a touching moment in a fictional miniseries on Netflix, but a kiss between a young Hindu woman and a Muslim man has sparked controversy in India and become the latest flashpoint in the country’s identity politics.

Amy Coney Barrett casts deciding vote to block limit on religious gatherings (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 27 – Washington: With new Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s vote, the US Supreme Court has blocked coronavirus restrictions imposed on religious services in New York state, backing Christian and Jewish houses of worship in infection hot spots.


Aussie influencer cops backlash for ‘disrespectful’ new song (
Nov 24 – An Aussie Instagram influencer turned rapper is copping major backlash from the Muslim community following the release of her new song.

Terrorist prisoner Abdul Nacer Benbrika has Australian citizenship cancelled (ABC News)
Nov 25 – The Federal Government has cancelled the citizenship of Abdul Nacer Benbrika, one of Australia’s most notorious terrorists, ahead of his expected release from a Victorian prison.


‘I’ve found childhood home of Jesus’ (The Australian)
Nov 23 – There is a strong case that a well-preserved 1st-century house excavated at Nazareth was the childhood home of Jesus.

Oxford’s All Souls has shed its own (The Australian)
Nov 27 – (Opinion: Henry Ergas) Ending slavery was the greatest landmark of willed moral progress.