Religion News Australia

March 21 – April 4, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Reflection and belief in the quiet Eternal City (The Australian)
Apr 3 – (Opinion: George Pell) In Australia, unlike Italy, few grasp the Easter celebration’s Christian origins.


New Zealand’s Catholic Church apologises to abuse victims at royal commission hearing (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 26 – New Zealand’s Catholic Church has formally apologised to the survivors of abuse within the church and said its systems and culture must change.

Catholic Church

In the red: Pope orders salary cuts for cardinals to save jobs of employees (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 25 – Vatican City: Pope Francis has ordered cardinals to take a 10 per cent pay cut and reduced the salaries of most other clerics working in the Vatican in order to save jobs of employees as the coronavirus pandemic has hit the Holy See’s income.

Pope Francis presides over Way Of The Cross to empty St Peter’s Square (ABC News)
Apr 3 – Pope Francis has presided over the Way of the Cross procession on Good Friday in a nearly empty St Peter’s Square.


How former Islamic extremist Haseeb Hamayoon had his ideology changed  (ABC News)
Apr 2 – By his own admission, Haseeb Hamayoon at his most radical ranked a nine out of 10 in terms of his extremist views.

Religious Violence

Suspected jihadists attack villages in Niger killing at least 137 people (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 23 – Attacks by suspected jihadists in villages in Niger’s Tahoua region have left 137 people dead, the government has said, in another massacre that has underscored the huge security challenges facing new President Mohamed Bazoum.


Archaeologists identify 3,200-year-old temple mural of spider god in Peru (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 26 – Archaeologists in northern Peru have identified a 3,200-year-old mural painted on the side of an ancient adobe temple that is thought to depict a zoomorphic, knife-wielding spider god associated with rain and fertility.

French monks locked down with 2.8 tonnes of cheese pray for buyers (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 27 – A French monastery in the heart of Burgundy has launched an emergency online sale to get rid of thousands of its artisanal cheeses, which are languishing in its cellars as Covid-19 keeps buyers away.

Nike sues MSCHF over 666 pairs of Lil Nas X ‘Satan Shoes’ that contain ‘human blood’ (ABC News)
Mar 30 – Nike is suing a New York-based company that produced so-called Satan Shoes purportedly containing a drop of human blood as part of a collaboration with Old Town Road singer Lil Nas X.

Pet psychic business blossoms in Taiwan as people seek connection without kids (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 31 – Taipei, Taiwan: Seated outside a cafe, Yoyo Hsu prepares to commune with the dead.

‘Separated by distance but united in faith’: Holy Week celebrated in shadow of virus (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 3 – Jerusalem: Christians in the Holy Land marked Good Friday without the mass pilgrimages usually seen in the days leading up to Easter because of the coronavirus, and worshippers in many other predominantly Christian countries where the virus is still raging observed their second annual Holy Week with tight restrictions on gatherings.


Two men arrested on terrorism charges by the Australian Federal Police (ABC News)
Mar 26 – Two men from Brisbane and Melbourne have been arrested for allegedly running a sophisticated terrorist network that helped a number of Australian foreign terrorist fighters travel to Syria between 2012 and 2014.


Young and old break unleavened bread, gather for Passover in homes (
Mar 28 – Jewish matriarch Masha Fisher spent last year’s Passover almost entirely alone for the first time in her 85 years.


Dozens of federal MPs back motion accusing China of human rights breaches against Uyghur people (ABC News)
Mar 22 – Two federal members of Parliament have compared China’s treatment of Uyghurs to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany before the Holocaust, with politicians across the spectrum lining up to condemn human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

‘Shield not a sword’: Committee backs new religious freedom laws (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 31 – A majority of a NSW parliamentary committee has endorsed a push to amend the state’s anti-discrimination laws to protect religious freedom, in a move that has divided MPs and triggered a wider backlash.


The Baptist pastor using Twitch and Fortnite to spread the faith (ABC News)
Mar 27 – For Baptist pastor Kiran Skariah, riding a virtual chicken through the air while heavily armed is all in a day’s work.

Society will pay for loss of its Christian ideals (The Australian)
Mar 27 – (Opinion: Greg Sheridan) Without religious belief our relationships are diminished.

The Sydney Uniting Church appoints history-making transgender minister (ABC News)
Mar 31 – When Reverend Josephine ‘Jo’ Inkpin was inducted into the Uniting Church as a minister earlier this month, there were “tears of joy”.

When in doubt, choose faith (The Australian)
Mar 31 – (Opinion: Peter Craven) The great classical and modern art of Christianity furthers the drama of the Easter story and galvanises our wavering belief

Scientology shifts millions to Australia, books multimillion-dollar profits (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 1 – The Church of Scientology has shifted tens of millions of dollars into Australia, which has become an international haven for the controversial religion where it makes tax-free profits with minimal scrutiny.

Also: Scientology is shrinking fast and getting richer. How is this possible? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 3 – Paul Schofield was rebuilding his life.

The Aussie Camino is a picturesque pilgrimage inspired by Australia’s only saint, Mary MacKillop (ABC News)
Apr 3 – For 1,000 years, millions of people have walked in each other’s footsteps on a revered pilgrimage trail in north-western Spain.

Hospital chaplains, church ministers share challenges, comfort of Easter during COVID-19 (ABC News)
Apr 3 – For Reverend Jenny Potter, Easter is a time to reflect during the most holy week of her faith, but also on the little things that have made the biggest impacts for her as a hospital chaplain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online pile-ons and how the story of Easter offers a path of hope (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 3 – (Opinion: Simon Smart) “This year Amadeo Padilla is Jesus.” So reads the opening line of Kristin Valdez Quade’s celebrated short story, The Five Wounds

Time to celebrate the rebirth of life as we once knew it this Easter (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 3 – (Opinion)  The Christian message of Easter is one of rebirth, a celebration of new life and hope overcoming fear.

In search of the immortal soul in a modern world (The Australian)
Apr 3 – (Opinion: John Carroll ) Immortality has become the great question mark. The answer used to be provided at Easter, but for the secular modern age, belief in any form of life after death is in doubt.

We asked Australians if they believe in God or the supernatural. Here’s what they said (ABC News)
Apr 4 – Only 48 per cent of Australians say they believe in ghosts or the possibility they may exist, but 69 per cent say the same for the soul, according to new research.