Religion News Selection

March 29 – April 5, 2020

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Two new accusers say George Pell abused them when they were boys in the 1970s (ABC News)
April 2  – For decades, 53-year-old Bernie* kept the secrets of his childhood deeply buried.

High Court comes to swift judgment in George Pell case (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 2  – The High Court’s swift judgment in the case of George Pell has fuelled expectations that Australia’s most-senior Catholic cleric could walk free from jail before Easter.

Catholic Church

Book lifts lid on ‘guerrilla warfare’ against Pope Francis (The Guardian, Australia)
April 5  – An influential conservative cardinal has established himself as a “parallel authority” to Pope Francis, according to a new book that depicts the pontiff as a prophetic reformer who is surrounded by opponents waging “guerrilla warfare” against him.


Florida megachurch pastor arrested for breaching Covid-19 health order (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 31  – Florida officials have arrested the pastor of a megachurch accused of holding two Sunday services with hundreds of people and violating a safer-at-home order in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Megachurch meeting in Mulhouse seeded France’s coronavirus epidemic (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 2  – Paris: The prayer meeting at an evangelical church in Mulhouse, a small city in eastern France near the border with Germany and Switzerland, was just the latest in a series of such annual gatherings going back a generation.

The rightwing Christian preachers in deep denial over Covid-19’s danger (The Guardian, Australia)
April 4 – Last Sunday in Tampa, Florida, the Pentecostal pastor and conspiracy theorist Rodney Howard-Browne conducted two services for full houses at his River church.


Scott Morrison prays for Australia in video for Christians (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 1  – Scott Morrison has revealed he is praying for the state and territory leaders during the coronavirus pandemic, describing the crisis as a time of “great need and suffering” in an online video.

Also: Scott Morrison is a genuine Christian – of course he’s going to pray (Sydney Morning Herald)
April 4 – (Opinion: Julia Baird) Jesus Christ was trending on Twitter yesterday.

PM says places of worship to be considered workplaces over Easter (ABC News)
April 5  – The Prime Minister says places of worship will be considered workplaces over the Easter festival to accommodate the extra religious figures required to conduct rituals.


Beyond the church: How Australia’s sacred spaces are evolving (ABC News)
April 5  – Churches hold a long-lasting life and place in Australia’s culture, but increasing numbers of them are no longer used for their original purpose.

Why religious apocalyptic texts can offer us solace during the coronavirus crisis (ABC News)
April 5  – From unprecedented bushfires over summer to the global spread of a deadly pandemic, 2020 has felt “apocalyptic” to many.