Religion News Selection

February 21 – 28, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘I exploited them’: Ex-priest and ALP official ‘ashamed’ of child sexual abuse (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 23 – A former Labor party official and Catholic priest told a Sydney court he feels guilty and ashamed for exploiting vulnerable boys in Vietnam and the Philippines for his own sexual gratification and said he never doubted that what he was doing was criminal.

College apologises to students after review uncovers historical allegations of staff misconduct (ABC News)
Feb 26 – A Catholic girls’ school in Melbourne’s north has apologised to former students after an internal investigation found some staff in the 1990s ignored complaints about the inappropriate behaviour of two male teachers.

Mount Eliza ashram guru Russell Kruckman accused of sexually abusing multiple women (ABC News)
Feb 27 – For decades people have flocked to a bucolic ashram in one of Melbourne’s most exclusive suburbs to hear the guru spin his folksy brand of Eastern mysticism.


Outback town’s Catholic church to be demolished in blow to community (ABC News)
Feb 26 – Parishioners in Hughenden’s Catholic Church face a future without their own place of worship, with the town’s 1960’s church to be demolished in the next few months.


‘Pretty dark culture’: Sydney boys school heads express regret over rape claims (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 21 – Headmasters of two Sydney private boys’ schools where students have been embroiled in dozens of sexual assault complaints have said they will do more to address the “pretty dark culture” in which the events occurred.

Also: Viral petition against student sexual assault a ‘wake-up call’, Sydney private school principals say (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 21 – The headmaster of an elite Sydney all-boys school says he is “greatly concerned and alarmed” by the number of references to Cranbrook School in a viral petition that has gathered more than 2,500 testimonies of sexual assault committed by high school students.

South Australia’s Trinity College apologises over students lynching black baby doll (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 27 – School’s headmaster acknowledges ‘racist elements’ of incident and vows to improve education programs


Malaysian man wins landmark challenge against Muslim gay sex ban (ABC News)
Feb 28 – Hopes for greater acceptance of gay rights in the mostly Muslim country of Malaysia have risen after a landmark court challenge against an Islamic ban on sex “against the order of nature”.


Christians, Muslims and Jews to share faith centre in Berlin (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 21 – On the site of a church torn down by East Germany’s communist rulers, a new place of worship is set to rise that will bring Christians, Jews and Muslims under one roof – and it has already been dubbed a “churmosquagogue”.

Tanzania COVID cases: Nation’s coronavirus lie exposed on live TV (
Feb 25 – It had supposedly defeated coronavirus through the power of prayer and herbal remedies, but now a distressing live press conference has spectacularly backfired on the Tanzanian government, as the truth was revealed.

Evangelical leaders condemn role of Christian nationalism in Capitol attack (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 25 – More than 100 prominent evangelical Christian pastors and church leaders have spoken out against what they call the “perversion” of Christian nationalism and the role it played in enabling the violent insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington on 6 January.

‘It wasn’t until I lived in an inter-faith household that I realised just how weird my side could sound’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 27 – (Opinion: Grace Dent) The wheels fell off my plans for this year’s Lent abstinence within three days.


Aboriginal heritage site damaged at BHP Pilbara iron ore mine (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 23 – A registered Aboriginal heritage site has been damaged at one of BHP’s Pilbara iron ore mines, despite the major miner pledging in June to consult with traditional owners before disturbing sites in the area.

Racial and religious vilification on the rise in Victoria — but only one successful prosecution  (ABC News)
Feb 26 – During the first five months of the pandemic in Victoria, the number of people contacting Victoria’s human rights commissioner for advice about racial vilification spiked.

Faith leaders urged to spread word amid calls for churches to be used as vaccination hubs (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 28 – Religious leaders are being urged to publicly support the COVID-19 vaccine to dispel a groundswell of coronavirus misinformation circulating among ethnic communities that threatens to undermine the vaccine rollout.