Religion News Selection

August 14 – 21, 2022

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Ex-Catholic brother faces abuse charges (Brisbane Times)
Aug 15 – A boy rejected attempts by a Catholic brother to tuck him into bed during a home prayer meeting thinking it was “weird and strange”, a court has been told.

Former CBC Fremantle student claims chaplain sexually abused boys in ‘lockable confessional’ (ABC News)
Aug 16 – At the heart of a school where Fremantle’s Catholics sent their boys to be educated, a chaplain created his own lockable confessional to allegedly sexually abuse primary school students.

Former Qld Catholic school brother to stand trial on child sex charges (Brisbane Times)
Aug 18 – A former Catholic brother at a south-east Queensland school will stand trial on 15 child sex charges allegedly committed during the 1980s.


Australia’s Anglican Church splits over same-sex marriage, conservatives form new diocese (ABC News)
Aug 17 – Australia’s Anglican Church has split, with a conservative group of bishops opposed to same-sex marriage forming a breakaway diocese — but progressives argue they are “entirely faithful to scripture”.

Also: Anglican schism: how dare these fundamentalist defectors question our faith (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 18 – (Opinion: Matthew Anstey) This week, in an unprecedented act of schism, a disaffected group of Anglicans has departed to form a new “diocese of the Southern Cross”.

Also: ‘It’s a sin’: How sex and women split the Anglican church (Brisbane Times)
Aug 18 – For a long time, the Reverend Peter Palmer has been at odds with his earthly boss.

Also: Legal fight over same-sex faith (The Australian)
Aug 21 – A recently married, church­going couple are at the heart of an issue tearing apart the Anglican Church in Australia.


Last supper? Church urged to ‘show heart’ after tossing out beloved South Melbourne cafe (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 20 – South Melbourne residents and parishioners have urged the Catholic Church to “show some heart” after the owner of a beloved Italian café on church grounds was told his doors must close next month.


St Clare’s principal to head one of Sydney’s oldest all-boys schools ahead of co-ed move (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 15 – The head of all-girls St Clare’s College has been appointed the new principal of one of Sydney’s oldest all-boys schools as it prepares to become fully co-educational.

Bondi Jewish school set to close after failing to meet standards (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 16 – An eastern suburbs Jewish school is set to close after the state’s education authority recommended that its registration be cancelled for failing to meet curriculum and teaching standards.

Catholic school refuses to show media student’s same-sex movie (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 18 – A Melbourne secondary school is refusing to screen a year 12 student’s film about same-sex attraction because it is not in line with Catholic values.


Game site Steam ‘a racist cesspool of anti-Semitism’ (The Australian)
Aug 17 – A complaint made to Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission has detailed claims of abuse and anti-Semitism on the online gaming platform Steam.

‘Fifty Holocausts’ remarks spark fury in Germany, Israel (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 18 – Berlin: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz voiced disgust on Wednesday at remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the German leader said diminished the importance of the Holocaust, while Israel accused Abbas of telling a “monstrous lie”.

Religious Violence

Iran says only Rushdie himself and supporters to blame for attack (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 15 – Dubai: No one has the right to level accusations against Iran over Friday’s attack on Salman Rushdie, for which he and his supporters are solely to blame, the Foreign Ministry in Tehran said on Monday.

Also: This can’t be Rushdie’s last word (The Australian)
Aug 15 – (Opinion: Caroline Overington) After decades of refusing to be silenced, the celebrated champion of the pen, not sword, has inspired the world of books now left reeling by the attack on his life.

Also: Salman Rushdie, Charlie Hebdo, violence and cancel culture (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 16 – (Opinion: Richard Flanagan) When, in February 1989, I heard from a friend of the fatwa put on Salman Rushdie, it made no sense.

Letters from those left behind: Afghans who worked for Australia describe desperation  (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 15 – Afghan nationals who worked for the Australian military and government in Afghanistan before the fall of Kabul have pleaded for help to find safety, a year after the Taliban violently reclaimed power.

‘I want to leave this hell’: Afghan women are living in a dystopian world (The Australian)
Aug 21 – A year after the Taliban seized power, Afghanistan’s economy is in ruins – and women are paying the highest price. ‘Day by day they are bringing in more limits. Always on women.”

A student was jailed for her tweets – thank the Saudi regime’s enablers (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 21 – (Opinion: Arwa Mahdawi) Salma al-Shehab is sitting in prison because of a retweet.


Nepal’s holy Bagmati River turns from clear to brown and then to black.  (ABC News)
Aug 17 – High on a mountain in the Himalayas, pristine drops fall from the mouth of a tiger statue installed at a stream thought to form the headwaters of the Bagmati River, long revered as having the power to purify souls.

Young, Christian and gaining momentum: meet Britain’s anti-abortionists (The Australian)
Aug 21 – A new wave of activists has been buoyed by America’s Roe v Wade ruling and with increasing interest in their crusade they warn anti-abortion views are ‘not as niche or as marginal as people think’.


Overhaul of WA’s anti-discrimination laws to strengthen protections for women and LGBTIQA+  (ABC News)
Aug 16 – Western Australia’s anti-discrimination laws will be overhauled to provide stronger protections for women and LGBTIQA+ communities, among other reforms.

Catholic priest claims he’s been wrongly charged over Blockade Australia protest (ABC News)
Aug 17 – The first moment Father Peter Murnane knew he was wanted by police was when two officers turned up on his doorstep.

Why a gender-fluid god can save religion from itself (Brisbane Times)
Aug 18 – (Opinion: Louise Omer) Patriarchal belief systems have had their day. It is time for a queerer, kinder faith.

‘Forget about your worries or dying’ (ABC News)
Aug 20 – As Christianity rapidly declines, these religions are growing faster than ever.

The long history of psychedelics in religion, from ergot-spiked wine to magic mushrooms (ABC News)
Aug 21 – In the last century, psychedelics have gone from being at the cutting edge of medical science, to a symbol of the 1960s counterculture, and back again.