Religion News Australia

December 6 – 13, 2020

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Former Marist College students sue Catholic Church over historical sexual abuse allegations (ABC News)
Dec 9 – Four former students of a Catholic secondary school in Tasmania’s north-west are suing the church over historical sexual abuse allegations involving a former international cricket umpire convicted for sex offences two decades ago.


Anglican Church ‘on a path to disintegration’ over blessing same-sex unions (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 13 – The conservative Anglican Diocese of Sydney has told its top personnel the church is “on a trajectory towards disintegration” over a decision to allow the blessing of same-sex unions.

Catholic Church

Vatican risks going broke slowly, George Pell says (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 9 – Rome: Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell said the world’s smallest state risked slowly “going broke” unless it tamed ballooning deficits, and expressed hope his successor would be spared the resistance to reform that he said thwarted him.


France bans homeschooling in sweeping anti-Islamist reforms (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 10 – Paris: The French government unveiled a draft law on Wednesday, local time, aimed at better arming France against Islamist radicalism, a project promoted by President Emmanuel Macron to root out what he calls “separatists” undermining the nation.

After Christchurch, New Zealand’s Muslim women shouldn’t have to rebuild on their own (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 12 – In New Zealand, strong women leaders are regularly referred to as wāhine toa.

Iranian teenager who posted distorted pictures of herself is jailed for 10 years (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 12 – An Iranian woman who posted heavily distorted images of herself online has been sentenced to 10 years in jail, her lawyer has said, a year after she was arrested over her social media activities.

Indonesian Islamic cleric Rizieq Shihab arrested in Jakarta over COVID-19 breaches (ABC News)
Dec 13 – Indonesian Islamic cleric Rizieq Shihab has been arrested in Jakarta on suspicion of breaching coronavirus restrictions by holding events that drew thousands of followers in the city, his lawyer said.


Incomprehensible to us’: Roald Dahl’s family apologises for his anti-Semitism (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 7 – London: The family of Roald Dahl has apologised for “the lasting and understanding hurt” caused by anti-Semitic comments the author made during his lifetime.

Religious Violence

Missing ISIS bride found six years on in camp (The Australian)
Dec 7 – British teen who sparked missing persons appeal found with her son in a Syrian detention camp for ISIS brides.


Just the Job: Bill Murray biblical reading seeks to bridge US partisan divide (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 7 – Against the backdrop of a pandemic and an acrimonious election, a group of acclaimed actors were on Sunday set to stage an online reading of an appropriate religious text: the Book of Job.

Tower of human skulls reveals grisly scale to archaeologists in Mexico City (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 12 – Archaeologists have unearthed new sections of an Aztec tower of human skulls dating back to the 1400s beneath the center of Mexico City.

Kim Ki-duk: punk-Buddhist shock, violence – and hypnotic beauty too (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 12 – Of all the film-makers of what might loosely be called the new Asian wave of the 21st century, perhaps the most challenging and mysterious – and probably the most garlanded on the European festival circuit – was South Korean director Kim Ki-duk.


High Court to consider extended detention of terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika after his sentence (ABC News)
Dec 10 – Notorious convicted terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika will face a key High Court challenge today as the Federal Government battles to extend his detention beyond the end of his sentence.

Muslims condemn mutilation imams (The Australian)
Dec 10 – Peak body representing Aust­ralian Muslims slams foster care guidelines written by country’s foremost Islamic scholars.

For Muslims, sex can be ‘an act of worship’ — yet intimacy and pleasure are often taboo topics (ABC News)
Dec 12 – When Zoya Patel was in high school, dating wasn’t just a no-go, it was scandalous.

Australian whose Uyghur wife and child were stuck in China celebrates their return (ABC News)
Dec 12 – An Australian man whose wife and young child were stuck in the Xinjiang region of China for three years has announced their safe return to Australia.


Prioritise religious freedoms, PM urged (The Australian)
Dec 7 – Religious leaders are urging Scott Morrison to make implementing a Religious Discrimination Act his top post-Covid priority.

Mission from God: O’Neill seeks to reunite Labor with faithful (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 13 – If the old adage to never discuss religion or politics in polite company was meant to be taken literally, then nobody told Deb O’Neill.


Left anoints itself as the only true religion (The Australian)
Dec 7 – (Opinion: Nick Cater) Five years ago, Margaret Court’s views on marriage would have been unexceptional. But today, accusations of homophobia and hate speech levelled against Christians are part of a wider battle.

Albury man, 18, expected to be charged with terrorism offences and had ‘neo-Nazi’ views, police say (ABC News)
Dec 9 – A NSW teenager with alleged extreme right-wing views is facing terrorism-related charges with police saying he supported and wanted to be involved in “a mass casualty event”.

Juukan inquiry calls for freeze on projects threatening sacred sites (
Dec 9 – A federal inquiry investigating Rio Tinto’s destruction of the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge rock shelters has called for a moratorium on all mining projects that threaten sacred Indigenous sites across Western Australia until new legislation has been passed.

Also: Rio Tinto should pay compensation for Juukan Gorge caves blast, inquiry recommends (ABC News)
Dec 10 – Mining giant Rio Tinto should pay compensation to traditional owners for destroying the sacred Juukan Gorge caves, a parliamentary inquiry has recommended.

‘We’ve Marie Kondo’d the birth of Christ’: minimalist nativity scenes perplex the internet (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 12 – A couple of pulled apart liquorice allsorts; laboratory sample tubes; several wooden blocks that cost US$225 – in 2020, anything can be a nativity.