Religion News Australia

July 25 – August 1, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Legal payout brings hope for other victims of paedophile priest (The Age, Melbourne)
July 26 – As the first of Kevin O’Donnell’s victims to report the paedophile priest to police, he paved a courageous path for other abuse survivors to follow.


Catholic school boss calls for traditional HSC exams to be cancelled (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 26 – The head of Sydney Catholic Schools has called for formal year 12 examinations to be abandoned and HSC results to be based on school assessments instead, saying remote learning is disadvantaging the city’s worst-off students.


Bishop: Catholic Diocese of Albany covered up sexual abuse by priests (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 1 – The longtime former head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany has said it covered up sexual abuse by priests for decades and protected clergy by sending them to private treatment instead of calling police.

Catholic Church

Cardinal, playboy and femme fatale stand trial in Vatican corruption case (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 26 – Rome: A playboy, a femme fatale spy and a powerful Italian cardinal are preparing to stand trial in a Vatican corruption inquiry that has changed the way the Holy See conducts criminal justice.


Anger as Poland plans law that will stop Jews reclaiming wartime homes (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 1 – A few years ago, Shoshana Greenberg stood outside a building in Lodz, Poland, once owned by her family, with an old photograph in her hands and tears running down her face.

Religious Violence

Women, children casualties on the rise in Afghanistan, warns the United Nations (ABC News)
July 26 – More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since the United Nations began systematically keeping count in 2009.

Barred by Australia, alleged Islamic State militant and her children to return to New Zealand (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 26 – Wellington: New Zealand on Monday agreed to repatriate an alleged Islamic State militant from Melbourne and her two young children, who have been detained in Turkey since February.

Popular comedian’s throat cut by Taliban (The Australian)
July 26 – Comic was among several killed by Taliban forces in Afghanistan, where thousands of refugees are fleeing the advancing insurgents.

Afghan forces face enemies within as Taliban infiltrate crumbling ranks (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 30 – Washington: The Taliban carried out more than two dozen insider attacks and killed at least 81 Afghan troops during the wave of violence sweeping through Afghanistan in recent months.

Taliban strikes major cities in Afghanistan, rockets halt flights out of Kandahar (ABC News)
Aug 1 – Afghan government forces have struggled against Taliban assaults on several major cities as the insurgents stepped up a nationwide offensive that saw a key airport in the south come under rocket fire overnight.


Revealed: the secrets of Seville cathedral’s banquet set in stone (The Guardian, Australia)
July 26 – For almost 500 years, the arch that connects the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with its Renaissance sacristy has offered visitors a sumptuous, if little glimpsed – and even less studied – vision of religious bounty.

Tibet and China clash over next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 1 – A couple of years ago, during a meeting of Tibetan leaders in Dharamshala in India, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was asked about his reincarnation.


Burnside partner apologises for anti-Semitic tweet (The Australian)
Aug 1 – The partner of Julian Burnside has deleted and apologised for a tweet that was interpreted as being anti-Semitic and an attack on Josh Frydenberg’s ancestry.


Cory Bernardi has given his blessing, but will this be a second coming for the Family First Party? (ABC News)
July 29 – In the past couple of months the SA Liberal Party has been tearing itself apart over an influx of new conservative Christian members.

Attorney-General directs Parks Australia to fight charges of sacred site damage in Kakadu (ABC News)
July 30 – The Attorney-General has intervened in a court battle over alleged sacred site damage in Kakadu National Park, arguing the Commonwealth is not bound by protections enshrined in Northern Territory law.

‘I couldn’t function without my faith’ (The Australian)
July 31 – Scott Morrison remembers the day and the moment with perfect clarity. He was 12-years-old when he gave his life to God.


Sydney Hillsong pastors gain permission to leave Australia (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 26 – The Sydney-based co-founders of the global Pentecostal Christian church Hillsong preached in person at a service in Mexico on Monday and have been based in the United States for several months, despite the Australian border being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Wrong morally’: Official photo of Ben Roberts-Smith was altered to hide Crusader’s cross (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 27 – Former special forces soldier Ben Roberts-Smith displayed a contentious Crusader’s cross on his uniform while on duty in Afghanistan, with the symbol later digitally removed by the Department of Defence in a widely distributed photo of the decorated war veteran.

One of Australia’s most recognised voices is also a Buddhist and has a philosophical approach  (The Guardian, Australia)
July 29 – Podcaster and author Meshel Laurie shares her philosophy towards possessions and her favourite music for doing housework and getting her daughter out of bed.

Far-right extremist Neil Erikson jailed for disrupting Melbourne church service with homophobic rant (The Guardian, Australia)
July 30 – The far-right extremist Neil Erikson has been sentenced to 10 weeks in jail after he marched into a queer-friendly Melbourne church and hurled homophobic abuse, with a magistrate labelling his behaviour “wilfully ignorant” and “shameful”.

Ancient sites, rainbow serpents raise risks for Australian miners (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 31 – Sacred sites, endangered sawfish and Aboriginal rainbow serpents are the latest challenges confronting Australia as the nation’s top mining companies meet for their biggest annual conference.

Churches, mosques, community centres to become pop-up vax clinics in hotspots (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 31 – Churches, mosques and community centres will be used as pop-up vaccination clinics in Sydney’s COVID-19 hotspots, as the worsening crisis triggers the suspension of all non-urgent surgery in hospitals across the city.

What the religion question in the census really measures (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 1 – For the past 100 years Australians have been asked to identify their religion in the census.