Religion News Selection

January 1 – 8, 2023

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Victorian court allows abused altar boy’s children and wife to sue Catholic church (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 4 – A Victorian court has paved the way for the children and wife of an abused altar boy to sue the Catholic church, alleging the church’s failings caused their father and husband to become a violent alcoholic and drug addict who beat them later in life.

Catholic Church

The pope and the Jews: How are we to assess Benedict’s legacy? (ABC News)
Jan 2 – (Opinion: David J. Wasserstein) In 2005, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elevated to (The Guardian, Australia) predecessor was the first) — one of the first things that most people heard about him was that he was a former member of the Hitler Youth.

Benedict fought sex abuse more than past popes. Survivors say he was part of the problem (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 2 – (Opinion: Nicole Winfield) Vatican City: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is rightly credited with having been one of the 20th century’s most prolific Catholic theologians, a teacher-pope who preached the faith via volumes of books, sermons and speeches.

It’s a papal version of Succession: at Benedict XVI’s funeral, the plotting will begin (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 3 – (Opinion: Catherine Pepinster) Airlines usually upgrade cardinals to first class and offer them champagne.

‘Santo Subito!’ Supporters demand sainthood for Benedict as Pope Francis leads funeral (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 6 – Vatican City: Pope Francis led the funeral of former Pope Benedict on Thursday, tenderly touching the coffin of his predecessor as he stood supported on a cane before tens of thousands of mourners, with some calling for the late pontiff to be made a saint.

Religious Violence

Chess player ‘warned not to return to Iran’ after competing without hijab (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 4 – Dubai: An Iranian chess player arrived in Spain after receiving what a source close to her said were warnings not to return to Iran for competing without a hijab at an international tournament in Kazakhstan.

Outcry over footage of men smashing cross at Jerusalem cemetery (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 6 – Security camera footage of men wearing Jewish religious clothing smashing a stone cross in a historic Jerusalem cemetery has prompted claims that Israeli extremists are responsible for the desecration of more than 30 Christian graves.

Iran’s regime is cracking, but a challenge remains to ensure the revolution isn’t ‘hijacked’ (ABC News)
Jan 8 – Iran’s youth are no strangers to operating underground.


Serafina Tane grew up in the Camp David religious cult. This is what it felt like to leave (ABC News)
Jan 3 – Serafina Tane was born into a religious cult on New Zealand’s South Island.

Friend of Satan: how Lucien Greaves and his Satanic Temple are fighting the religious right (The Guardian, Australia)
Jan 4 – A statue of Baphomet – a pagan idol used in popular culture as a representation of the devil, with the head, horns and feet of a goat, the torso of a man and the wings of an angel – is the centrepiece of the Satanic Temple’s headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts.


What Australia can learn from Europe’s prosecution of returned IS wives (ABC News)
Jan 7 – Their return last year sparked debate, and an arrest this week fanned the flames, but a look overseas provides insight into how other countries have dealt with some returned IS (Islamic State) wives.