Religion News Selection

Oct 18 – 25, 2020

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Sex abuse royal commission finds Catholic church failed to act against Brisbane brother  (ABC News)
Oct 21 – Protocols at a Brisbane private school put in place after several complaints against a Marist brother in the 1990s were “inadequate and ineffective”, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has found.


Film dramatises real-life story of juvenile delinquent who posed as a small-town priest (ABC News)
Oct 22 – (Review)  Loosely based on a celebrated real-life case that made headlines in Poland, this drama follows a juvenile delinquent who poses as a small-town priest.

Confessions of an atheist writer: Charlotte Wood on Catholicism and the ‘art instinct’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 25 – (Opinion: Charlotte Wood) One of my earliest memories is not a memory at all but a sensation, perhaps a kind of hunger: it is the taste of the wooden pew in the small church in which I spent every Sunday morning of my life from birth until high school.


Priests give up school control (The Australian)
Oct 21 – A large new company will take control of Catholic education in Melbourne in the wake of the sex abuse royal commission.


Revealed: ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 21 – Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court has prompted former members of her secretive faith group, the People of Praise, to come forward and share stories about emotional trauma and – in at least one case – sexual abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of members of the Christian group.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis pushes new boundaries and expresses support for same-sex civil unions (ABC News)
Oct 22 – Pope Francis has broken with tradition in a new documentary released this week by expressing support for same-sex civil unions, in some of the clearest language he has used in relation to the rights of LGBTQ people.

The Pope and Pell: ‘One of the most fascinating relationships in Rome’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 25 – (Opinion: Andrew West) Suddenly, it seems, George Pell is everywhere.


Hillsong and C3 started in Australia — and now they’re growing in popularity in Brazil (ABC News)
Oct 25 – Brazil is home to the world’s largest Catholic population, but the rise of Pentecostalism is drawing young Brazilians away from traditional pews, and toward charismatic, “club-like” mega-churches.


Brisbane City Council to keep prayer before meetings (Brisbane Times)
Oct 20 – Brisbane City Council is expected to retain its traditional Christian prayer to open council chamber meetings, despite a petition calling for it to be scrapped.

‘All the right causes’: Miranda Devine and Coalition senators back extreme Queensland candidate (The Guardian, Australia)
Oct 21 – A Toowoomba doctor who advocates gay conversion therapy has been endorsed for Liberal National party preselection by a host of conservative figures, including sitting senators Matt Canavan and Eric Abetz, the former deputy prime minister John Anderson and the News Corp columnist Miranda Devine.

‘Christians are not victims’: church leader slams religious freedom bill (Sydney Morning Herald)
Oct 24 – The leader of a major church group says it is disingenuous to portray Australian Christians as victims of persecution in his criticism of a NSW religious freedom bill spurred by the Israel Folau controversy.


Teacher’s beheading a brutal reminder of dormant extremism (Brisbane Times)
Oct 21 – (Opinion: Chrales Hadji) Last Friday, Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in the outskirts of Paris, was beheaded outside his school a few days after showing his students caricatures of Mohammed as part of a class on freedom of expression.