Religion News Australia

April 4 – 11, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Church leader appeals 11-year prison sentence for raping choir girls (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 9 – A Queensland church leader convicted of raping and indecently assaulting two choir girls has appealed the 11-year jail term he was handed 18 months ago.

‘I can move on’: $1.5 million payout to St Alipius sex abuse survivor (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 10 – A Victorian man who was sexually abused by Australia’s most prolific paedophile priest has reached a $1.5 million settlement with the Catholic Church, one of the largest payouts of its kind.

Also: Gerald Ridsdale: Victorian man abused as schoolboy by paedophile priest given $1.5m Also: settlement (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 10 – A Victorian man abused as a schoolboy by Catholic pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and two teachers has been given a $1.5m settlement on the eve of the matter going to trial.


Australian Cardinal and former Vatican official Edward Cassidy dies aged 96 (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 11 – Australian Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, a former senior Vatican official, has died in Newcastle at the age of 96.

Catholic Church

‘We pray these restrictions may be lifted’: Pope celebrates Easter in pandemic-weary world (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 5 – Vatican City: Christianity’s most joyous feast day was celebrated worldwide with the faithful spaced apart in pews and singing choruses of “Hallelujah” through masks on a second Easter Sunday marked by pandemic precautions.


‘Allergic reaction to US religious right’ fueling decline of religion, experts say (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 5 – Fewer than half of Americans belong to a house of worship, a new study shows, but religion – and Christianity in particular – continues to have an outsize influence in US politics, especially because it is declining faster among Democrats than Republicans.

After going ‘free of LGBT,’ a Polish town pays a price (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 11 – Krasnik, Poland: When local councillors adopted a resolution two years ago declaring their small town in south-eastern Poland “free of LGBT,” the mayor didn’t see much harm in what appeared to be a symbolic and legally pointless gesture.

Sleepytime tea: Secret religion behind Celestial Seasonings (
Apr 11 – Mo Siegel founded one of the most popular tea brands in the world, but little is known about his ties to a self-described religious “cult” that believes in aliens and eugenics.

Making sense of conspiracy theorists as the world gets more bizarre (The Guardian, Australia)
Apr 11 – In 1999 I sat in a Vancouver café with a group of anti-capitalist activists.


Muslims attending mosques during holy month of Ramadan fear ongoing hate crimes (ABC News)
Apr 11 – For most Muslims around the world, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is a time for peaceful worship.


Push for investigation into Scientology’s charity status (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 4 – Australia’s charity regulator has been called on to investigate Scientology amid concerns it is abusing its not-for-profit status.

Also: Labor flags parliamentary inquiry into Scientology’s tax-free riches (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 6 – Labor charities spokesman Andrew Leigh has flagged a parliamentary inquiry into Scientology, expressing concerns about its “unprecedented” wealth and shifting of assets into Australia.

Also: Benefit to ‘open and transparent’ Scientology probe (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 8 – A key figure in the creation of Australia’s charities regulator says the benefit of a parliamentary inquiry into Scientology’s significant wealth in Australia would be public transparency.

The search for meaning doesn’t lead to wealth and happiness (Brisbane Times)
Apr 5 – (Opinion: Ross Gittins) Easter Monday’s a good a time to reflect on what we’re doing with our lives and why we’re doing it.

Virus spread through air at western Sydney church, analysis concludes (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 7 – A dozen people were infected with COVID-19 at a western Sydney church last year through airborne transmission, with evidence suggesting an asymptomatic chorister spread virus particles up to 14 metres to members of the congregation.

‘It’s our church’: Land managers aim to rebuild wrecked stone eel (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 7 – Aboriginal land managers are hopeful that they can reconstruct an ancient ceremonial stone arrangement in western Victoria that was damaged by a farmer.

Church proposes $107 million triple-tower development for Canning Bridge (The Age, Melbourne)
Apr 9 – Como is finally getting in on the high-rise action around Canning Bridge, with a proposal lodged for a $107 million triple-tower apartment and commercial building funded by the Baptist Church.

Australian witches and Druids optimistic about paganism’s post-pandemic future (ABC News)
Apr 10 – As the most recent full moon rose over Sydney, a group of pagans gathered on a hill in the western reaches of the city to mark the occasion.