Religion News Selection

February 16 – 22, 2020

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



New claims of inappropriate behaviour by current St Kevin’s teachers revealed (ABC News)
Feb 18  – A top Catholic school accused of a culture of cover-up has received reports of alleged inappropriate behaviour by several current teachers.

Also: St Kevin’s College headmaster resigns, dean of sport stood down following grooming scandal (ABC News)
Feb 19 – The headmaster of St Kevin’s College in Melbourne has resigned and the school’s dean of sport has been stood down following a Four Corners story about the college’s response to the grooming of a student by a former athletics coach.

Also: What we haven’t learnt from St Kevin’s (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 20 – (Opinion: Kasey Edwards) “How could this have happened? And how was it allowed to go on for so long undetected?”

Also: Child protection groups condemn Andrew Bolt for saying convicted St Kevin’s groomer ‘hit on’ victim (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 20 – Child protection advocates have condemned Andrew Bolt’s use of the phrase “hit on” to describe the sexual grooming of a year 9 school boy by his athletics coach, saying the language was inappropriate and minimised the seriousness of the offence.

Also: St Kevin’s grooming scandal: The organisation moving on from Christian Brothers’ dark past (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 23  – On Tuesday morning, as St Kevin’s College found itself at the centre of a grooming scandal, an unfamiliar figure appeared at a hastily convened school assembly to address the students.

Also: St Kevin’s College, abuse and the language of pain (The Saturday Paper)
Feb 23 – (Opinion: Luke Macaronas) An ugly wound has been opened at the heart of St Kevin’s College this week, after revelations in a Four Corners report about the school’s

Protection of alleged rapist strains Israel-Australia relationship (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 21  – Israeli politician Elazar Stern says his country’s handling of the case of Malka Leifer, the former Melbourne school principal attempting to avoid extradition to Australia from Israel to face 74 child sexual abuse charges, has damaged the relationship between the two nations.

School declined public appeal on sex abuse claims to protect image (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 23  – A former teacher at a prestigious NSW school has been charged with child sexual abuse offences almost six years after the administration declined to launch a public “fishing expedition” for abuse survivors following a meeting with one of his alleged victims.


Catholic charity founder sexually abused women, says report (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 23  – A respected Catholic figure who worked to improve conditions for people with developmental disabilities for more than half a century sexually abused at least six women during most of that period, according to a report released on Saturday by the France-based charity he founded.

Catholic Church

Vatican archives of ‘Hitler’s Pope’ Pius XII to open, sparking intense interest from historians (ABC News)
Feb 21  – More than 150 historians and researchers have signed up to access the Vatican archives of Pope Pius XII, which are poised to be unsealed, potentially uncovering new details about his record during the Holocaust.


Indonesia could force LGBT people into rehabilitation under draft ‘family resilience’ law (ABC News)
Feb 20  – A proposed bill to be considered by Indonesian Parliament would compel people with “deviant” sexual persuasions to undergo “rehabilitation”.

Religious Violence

China’s Uyghurs detained for simple acts of faith, leaked documents show (ABC News)
Feb 18 – For decades, Uyghur imam Memtimin Emer was a bedrock of his farming community in China’s far west.


How Hindu supremacists are tearing India apart (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 20  – For seven decades, India has been held together by its constitution, which promises equality to all.

South Korea screens thousands of religious sect members for coronavirus (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 23 – Thousands of members of a secretive religious sect in South Korea are being screened or the new coronavirus after more than 430 cases were confirmed in the country by officials, one of several fresh clusters of the disease globally.


Religious discrimination bill backfires on Christians (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 19 – (Opinion: Luke Beck) Conservative Christians are some of the biggest supporters of Scott Morrison’s religious discrimination bill.

Liberal MP Lucy Wicks denies conflict of interest over grant to church that called her a ‘dear friend’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 20  – A wealthy pentecostal church whose leader described the Liberal MP Lucy Wicks as a “dear friend” won thousands of dollars through a grant process Wicks wields influence over.