Religion News Australia

June 20 – 27, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘It was a cover up’: Perth mother of Trinity student sexually assaulted by peers breaks silence (
June 26 – A mother whose teenage son was sexually abused by fellow students at one of Perth’s most prestigious private boys’ schools claims the school’s response was one of “silence and secrecy”.

Bishop Christopher Saunders’ future remains a mystery as Vatican investigations continue (ABC News)
June 27 – The Vatican is continuing to investigate Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders according to a church document obtained by the ABC.


School asked boys to use rating system on girls, female students taught to keep virginity (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 22 – Boys at a northern beaches Anglican school were told to choose the qualities they looked for in a girl from a list that allocated more points for virginity, looks, and strong Christian values than for generosity and adventurousness.

Also: Chaplain who told boys to rate girls had history of ‘extreme Christianity’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 26 – A school chaplain who asked boys at a Sydney Anglican school to use a rating system on girls also said homosexuality was a sin comparable with murder, described “impure” girls as sluts and told young men excessive masturbation would damage the penis.

Bags of money and the old school tie: Private schools and their impact on Melbourne (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 27 – When Fran Bailey moved from Brisbane to Melbourne in 1970, one big cultural difference stood out between the two cities.


‘Don’t be disrespectful. He’ll be upset if you don’t sleep with him’ (The Age, Melbourne)
June 26 – For almost three decades, missionary Richard Daschbach ran an orphanage providing refuge for some of East Timor’s most needy children.

Catholic Church

Italy’s draft law against homophobia draws protest from Vatican over concerns for religious freedoms (ABC News)
June 27 – The Vatican has protested to Italy over a draft law to combat homophobia, saying that in its present form it could restrict the religious freedom of the Catholic Church in Italy.


Iran’s mullah without mercy evades justice (The Australian)
June 26 – (Opinion: Geoffrey Robertson) Ebrahim Raisi, the newly elected president of Iran, is an international criminal who should be put on trial wherever or whenever he can be apprehended.

Religious Violence

From Nobel peace hero to driver of war: Ethiopia’s Pentecostal leader (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 22 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — As war raged in northern Ethiopia and the region barrelled toward its worst famine in decades, a senior US envoy flew to the Ethiopian capital last month in the hope of persuading Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to pull his country out of a destructive spiral that many fear is tearing it apart.

New battle begins as Taliban once again threaten Afghanistan’s cities (The Age, Melbourne)
June 23 – (Opinion: Editorial)  Infinite Justice. Enduring Freedom. Nearly 20 years ago, these were the grand and sonorous phrases used to describe the beginning of the US-led war in Afghanistan, to which Australia committed itself as an ally.

Teenagers on trial for online abuse did if for ‘laughs’, subscribers (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 23 – Paris: Thirteen teenagers of various backgrounds and religions from around France are facing potential jail time for death and rape threats in the first cyber bullying case tried at a new court set up to prosecute online crimes.

Fears of COVID-19 ‘time bomb’ as unexplained deaths spark sorcery claims, torture and murder (ABC News)
June 26 – When a young boy died suddenly in Tatape Village in Papua New Guinea’s highlands, his relatives said dark forces were at work.


‘Our hearts are bleeding’: prayers for Australian couple in Miami building collapse (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 26 – The Australian Jewish community is sending prayers for the safe recovery of two Australians missing 48 hours after a Miami building collapse which has so far claimed officially claimed four lives.

As a third-generation survivor, this was hardest topic to explain to my child (The Age, Melbourne)
June 27 – (Opinion: Judy Batalion) Though I prided myself on my progressive, ask-me-anything parenting, I secretly dreaded discussing three things: sex, death, and the Holocaust.


Bipartisan inquiry urges government to declare all of Hezbollah a terrorist group (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 22 – Australia is one step closer to listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation after a bipartisan inquiry urged the federal government to move on the Lebanese militant group and political party.

Assistant minister for women supporting only man in five-way Liberal preselection contest (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 22 – Queensland senator Amanda Stoker, promoted to the federal government frontbench this year to help drive change in the treatment of women, is backing the only man in a five-candidate field for a critical preselection race.

How the religious right is trying to take over the Liberal Party (The Saturday Paper)
June 27 – (Opinion: Mike Seccombe ) The South Australian Liberal Party has frozen new memberships after an apparent Pentecostal takeover, but the move speaks to a vulnerability both feared and exploited in conservative politics.


A profound encounter at Lourdes (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 20 – (Opinion: Melissa Coburn) Years ago, backpacking around Europe, our train broke down in the south of France.

Queensland victims of racial hatred and vilification speak out to change 30-year-old laws (ABC News)
June 27 – Mokhtiar Singh was among the first Sikhs to live on the Gold Coast in 1988.

Faith is a quest for more light, not a list of dogmas (Sydney Morning Herald)
June 27 – (Opinion: Jim Pilmer) May I reveal a little-known fact about Christians?