Religion News Selection

March 8 – 15, 2020

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



George Pell’s appeal is before the High Court tomorrow. Here’s what might happen (ABC News)
Mar 10  – George Pell’s final bid for freedom at the High Court this week will be one of the most closely watched hearings in Australian legal history.

Also: The word is George Pell will walk free … but first the high court must have its say (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 10 – (Opinion: David Marr) The word around the bars is: George Pell will walk free.

Also: ‘Portelli is key’: Court told cleric could cast doubt on Pell verdict (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 11 – Prosecutors have conceded that the testimony of a senior church figure who accompanied George Pell when he presided over Sunday mass could raise a reasonable doubt about whether the former Melbourne archbishop sexually assaulted two choirboys.

Also: George Pell: high court reserves decision on granting special leave for an appeal (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 11 – The full bench of the high court in Canberra has reserved its decision about whether to grant Cardinal George Pell special leave to appeal his case for a final time, after listening to two days of arguments from his barrister and the prosecution.

Court orders record payment against Christian Brothers for historic child sex abuse crimes (ABC News)
Mar 11  – An elderly man who was subjected to “degrading” and “humiliating” sexual abuse by Christian Brothers in West Australian orphanages has been awarded more than $1.3 million in damages in what has been described as a “landmark” decision.

Broome bishop Christopher Saunders stands down over serious allegations (
Mar 11 – One of Australia’s highest-ranking Catholics has voluntarily stood aside amid serious allegations.

Religious Violence

The Christchurch attack traumatised us, but we are determined to be happy (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 10 – (Opinion: Maysoon Salama) At the childcare centre my husband and I run in Christchurch, most of the children would have had somebody in their family who was injured during the attack or knew somebody who was injured.

Far-right extremists still threaten New Zealand, almost one year on from the Christchurch attacks (ABC News)
Mar 11 – (Opinion: Paul Spoonley) In the hours after the Christchurch mosque attacks on March 15 last year, I wrote that I hoped New Zealand would finally stop believing it was immune to far-right extremist violence.

Jinwar, the Middle East’s first feminist commune for Arab, Kurdish, and Yazidi victims of Islamic State (ABC News)
Mar 13  – Coming to Jinwar in northern Syria was Bedra Darwish’s “only chance to have a better life”.

Finding light in the long shadow of the Christchurch attack (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 15  – To this day Abdul Aziz Wahabzada does not know the name of the man who attacked Christchurch’s mosques a year ago.


Legal Aid says no to funding mosque-bombing terror trio’s appeals (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 13  – Three terrorists who were jailed for firebombing a Melbourne mosque might not have their appeals heard unless Victoria Legal Aid reverses a decision to not fund their cases.

One year after Christchurch we seek solace in community and being unapologetically Muslim (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 13 – (Opinion: Sara Mansour) The scars of the Christchurch massacre linger.

Here’s a radical idea (The Australian)
Mar 14 – (Opinion: Bernard Salt ) How about a fair go for all – including the families of Australian ISIS fighters.


Keep ‘Folau clause’ out of religion bill: lawyers (The Australian)
Mar 10  – MinterEllison and Maurice Blackburn join a broad coalition expressing dislike for second draft of the act.

Gun club and church with Liberal links awarded $40,000 in federal grants (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 10  – Tens of thousands of dollars in grant money was handed to a gun club and a church with links to federal government MPs.

Morrison government quietly mothballs laws to protect gay students and teachers (Brisbane Times)
Mar 15  – The Morrison government has quietly mothballed an inquiry which would have paved the way for long-promised laws to protect gay students and teachers from being expelled or sacked from religious schools.