Religion News Selection

September 4 – 17, 2023

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Roman Catholic Archbishop fronts WA parliamentary inquiry into institutional child sexual abuse (ABC News)
Sept 11 – The difficulties survivors of child sexual abuse face when attempting to pursue justice is a reality of complexities of the church, the Catholic Archbishop of Perth says.


Surprise split among Catholic women over sex, divorce and patriarchy (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 12 – Although Australian Catholic women are frustrated about discrimination, abuse and patriarchy in the church, a study has exposed a surprising generational divide: older women are hungry for reform, but younger devotees have little interest in relaxing rules on sex, contraception and the priesthood.


Australian Catholic University condemned over ‘totally indefensible’ cuts to humanities programs (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 14 – The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has been condemned by local and international academics for its decision to axe dozens of humanities jobs in highly coveted departments, entirely disbanding institutes in philosophy and history.

Education Department ordered to pay compensation over Brighton Secondary College antisemitism (The Age, Melbourne)
Sept 14 – Victoria’s Education Department has been ordered to apologise and pay compensation to five former students of Jewish descent for failing to protect them from racial discrimination at Brighton Secondary College.

Catholic Church

Pope tells Chinese Catholics to be good citizens, applauds Mongolia for religious peace  (ABC News)
Sept 4 – Pope Francis sent a special greeting to China’s “noble” people, giving them a special shout-out at the end of a Mass celebrated in Mongolia.

Letter shows Vatican knew about Nazi death camps despite long denial (Brisbane Times)
Sept 17 – Rome: Newly discovered correspondence suggests that World War II-era Pope Pius XII had detailed information from a trusted German Jesuit that up to 6000 Jews and Poles were being gassed each day in German-occupied Poland.


French schools send home dozens of girls wearing Muslim abayas (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 6 – On the first day of the new academic year French schools sent home dozens of girls for refusing to remove their abayas, the education minister said on Tuesday.

As 204 million vote to decide a new leader, their nation’s politicians will visit a shaman (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 16 – As Indonesians gear up to vote for a new president to succeed the outgoing Joko Widodo, age-old belief in spiritual forces persists.


Can religion be funny? These comedians joke about religious stereotypes  (ABC News)
Sept 17 – Australian Muslim comedian Frida Deguise got into stand-up by accident.


Facility accused of exorcisms and gay conversion practices applied for funding  (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 6 – Freedom of information documents show officials scrambling for information after then PM announced $4m for Esther Foundation


These women were told their babies would not survive – but Catholic-run public hospitals refused to provide abortions (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 6 – Both Jennifer and Amy were devastated when their wanted pregnancies were deemed unviable, but they were forced to go elsewhere when Catholic-run public hospitals would not terminate

Presbyterian church of Australia bans acknowledgement of country at services (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 14 – The Presbyterian church has banned congregations across Australia from conducting an acknowledgment of country at their regular services, in a decision described as “extreme” and saddening by Indigenous Christians.