Religion News Australia

July 4 – 11, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Gay married couple told to separate, be celibate to keep job in church (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 9 – A same-sex married couple claims they were discriminated against and had to leave their leadership roles and a paid job at a small church in northern NSW.


‘Blasphemous? Of course not.’ Director of lesbian nuns film hits back at critics (The Guardian, Australia)
July 11 – It might be based on a scholarly study of medieval nuns in Tuscany, but Benedetta, the new film from controversial director Paul Verhoeven, is full of lust, gore and brutality, and it has split opinion with equal violence at the Cannes film festival this weekend.


In Tasmania’s Huon Valley, Catholic parishioners say there’s unrest over a return to the 1960s (ABC News)
July 11 – Jack Driessen has been going to Mass in Tasmania’s Huon Valley for the past 66 years.


The old school tie has lost potency, but a private education still opens doors (Brisbane Times)
July 7 – (Opinion: Julie Szego) Every so often Australia’s education debate flares up like eczema, marring what’s left of the nation’s egalitarian self-image.


Canada’s reconciliation movement enters new phase following discovery of children’s graves (ABC News)
July 10 – Fernie Marty considers himself pretty resilient, but lately, the news has been the sort that stirs up personal and painful memories.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis alert and well a day after surgery, Vatican says (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 6 – Rome: Pope Francis is “in good, overall condition, alert” and breathing on his own, the Vatican said a day after the pontiff underwent a three-hour operation that involved removing half of his colon.

Religious Violence

Tibetan monks charged in secret Chinese trials with unknown offences, sparking renewed concerns (ABC News)
July 7 – China’s crackdown on ethnic minorities has once again been pushed into the spotlight, this time in Tibet, after a new report revealed for the first time that four monks were sentenced up to 20 years in prison on unknown charges.

Taliban sweep through Herat province as Afghan advance continues (The Guardian, Australia)
July 10 – The Taliban has swept through western Herat province, seizing two key border crossings to Iran and Turkmenistan, and much of the countryside beyond city limits.


About 150 students missing after gunmen raid Nigerian school, sources say (The Age, Melbourne)
July 6 – Bauchi/Kaduna: About 150 students are missing after armed men raided a boarding school in Nigeria’s Kaduna state, a parent and an administrator said, and police said they were in hot pursuit alongside military personnel.

Demon-obsessed teen convicted of murdering sisters in London park (Brisbane Times)
July 7 – London: A 19-year-old British man has been convicted of murdering two sisters as they celebrated a birthday in a London park, a crime driven by the deluded belief that the killings would help him win a lottery jackpot.


Launceston’s Islamic community is growing fast, but there’s no mosque (ABC News)
July 7 – For the Seleem family, making the move from Brisbane to Launceston in Tasmania’s north two years ago came with some challenges, but so far it has been well worth it.


Why does the ‘woke left’ tolerate anti-Semitism? (The Australian)
July 10 – (Opinion: Frank Furedi) The steady rise in casual anti-Semitism hides a much more disturbing development, as the post-Holocaust victim status of ‘hyper-white’ Jews is revised.


Catholic doctors urged to back George Christensen’s ‘nonsensical’ abortion bill (The Guardian, Australia)
July 6 – Catholic doctors are being urged to support George Christensen’s “nonsensical” abortion bill, leading to concerns medical professionals could impose their religious beliefs on patients.


NSW Health apologises for ‘error’ after St Joseph’s College students receive Pfizer vaccine jabs (ABC News)
July 6 – NSW Health has apologised after an “error” saw Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines administered to boarders at a prestigious Sydney Catholic school, despite most students in Australia not being eligible.

A Tibetan monk’s journey from Chinese jail to country NSW (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 7 – Venerable Bagdro, the Tibetan monk, sits alone in the former Catholic monastery in Mayfield.

The Samaritans survived centuries of war and slavery. Today, they face a new challenge (ABC News)
July 11 – When you watch the Samaritans carry out their sacred traditions, you would never know the ancient religious order is on the brink of extinction.