Religion News Australia

October 31 – November 7, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Former St Joseph’s College teacher John Patrick O’Brien jailed for abusing boys 50 years ago (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 5 – Former St Joseph’s College teacher John Patrick O’Brien will spend at least five years behind bars for abusing “vulnerable” boys at the Hunters Hill school more than 50 years ago.

Also: For months, St Joseph’s has started pulling down old photos from its hall of fame (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 6 – For generations, the team photographs have hung in the ‘hall of fame’ at St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill.


Correction, Minister: democracy’s roots are neither Christian nor Western (Brisbane Times)
Nov 7 – (Opinion: Frank Bongiorno) John Podsnap is one of Charles Dickens’ minor characters. Mr Podsnap, we learn in Our Mutual Friend, “was well to do, and stood very high in Mr Podsnap’s opinion”.

Religious Violence

Gunmen ‘posing as Taliban fighters’ attack wedding to silence music (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 1 – Kabul: Several gunmen posing as Taliban fighters killed three people over the weekend as they attacked a wedding in an attempt to stop music being played.

Women’s rights activist shot dead in northern Afghanistan (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 7 – A 29-year-old activist and economics lecturer, Frozan Safi, has been shot and killed in northern Afghanistan, in what appears to be the first known death of a women’s rights defender since the Taliban swept to power almost three months ago.


The COVID conspiracy theorist inside the White House press corps (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 3 – Washington: If you have never heard the name Emerald Robinson, that would suggest that you are not one of the 430,000-plus people who follow her on Twitter.

Nikki Haley: leaders should release tax returns and prove mental competency (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 7 – The former Trump cabinet member Nikki Haley was accused of ageism, as well as a startling lack of awareness about senior figures in her own party, after questioning Joe Biden’s mental health and suggesting there should be “some sort of cognitive test” for office holders “above a certain age”.


Communal violence dampens Diwali celebrations for Bangladeshis in Australia (ABC News)
Nov 2 – Some Bangladeshi Hindus in Australia plan to forego Diwali celebrations this year in “solidarity” with victims of an outbreak of religious violence in their former home country.

Maria James’s family calls for a priest’s exhumation, if DNA testing doesn’t offer answers (ABC News)
Nov 4 – Lawyers for the family of murder victim Maria James say the Victorian Coroner should consider exhuming the late Catholic priest, Father Anthony Bongiorno.

When is Diwali this year and how to celebrate the Festival of Lights? (ABC News)
Nov 5 – Every year on the darkest night in the northern hemisphere, millions illuminate their homes and streets to celebrate the victory of good over evil.

Why my kids will wind up celebrating a mishmash of holidays (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 5 – (Opinion: Amelia Lester) Parenting is full of nostalgic moments – raising children will remind you, often at unexpected times, of your own childhood – but those moments hit differently in a country apart from your own.

The heart of it: God is far more interested in integrity than policy (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 7 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) Faith and politics is a delicate issue, as staunch Catholic Dominic Perrottet’s recent promotion to New South Wales Premier demonstrated.