Religion News Selection

February 21 – 28, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘I was walking into an ambush’: Former Wallaby Tony Daly speaks out about childhood sexual abuse (ABC News)
Mar 6 – The defining moment in Tony Daly’s life happened when he was just 11.

Family’s concern and anger over Scotch College response to alleged rape (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 7 – The mother of a teenage girl who was allegedly raped by a student of Scotch College Melbourne says they were left angry and disheartened by the response of the private boys school after she tried to raise concerns about the way they teach young men about sexual consent.


Private school principals to meet with petition organiser over sex assault claims (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 2 – The principals of 10 eastern suburbs private schools will meet with activist Chanel Contos on Tuesday night to address sexual assault claims that have affected hundreds of their former students.

‘Men are like dogs’: what I was taught about sexual assault at my Catholic private school (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 6 – (Opinion: Claire J. Harris) When a petition recently went viral, documenting over 3,000 cases of sexual assault by boys at Sydney private schools, I was saddened and sickened – but not surprised – to find a testimonial from a female student at my former high school.

Catholic Church

Former pope Benedict says ‘fanatical’ Catholics still won’t believe he’s not the pope (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 2 – Former pope Benedict has chided conservative Roman Catholics who have not accepted his decision to resign, calling them “fanatical” and reminding them there is only one pope and it is Francis.


‘Satanic’ El Diablo Eurovision entry must be removed, says Holy Synod (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 3 – Nicosia, Cyprus: The Orthodox Church of Cyprus has called for the withdrawal of the country’s controversial entry into this year’s Eurovision song contest titled El Diablo, charging that the song makes an international mockery of the country’s moral foundations by advocating “our surrender to the devil and promoting his worship”.

Catholics in New Orleans and St Louis told to avoid Johnson & Johnson vaccine (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 3 – The archdiocese of New Orleans, as well as Roman Catholic leaders in St Louis, Missouri, have told local Catholics to avoid the Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine, because its early development used “morally compromised cell lines created from two abortions”.

Pope Francis in historic meeting with Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah (Brisbane Times)
Mar 7 – Najaf: Pope Francis met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, one of the most senior clerics in Shiite Islam, in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf on Saturday to deliver a message of peaceful coexistence, urging Muslims to embrace Iraq’s long-beleaguered Christian minority.


Why I began Victorian Open Mosque Day (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 7 – (Opinion: Mohamed Mohideen) “The best of friends in the sight of Allah (Most High) is the one who is best to his friend, and the best of neighbours in the sight of Allah (Most High) is the one who is best to his neighbour.”

A lot of uncertainty’: imams fighting Covid misinformation in Australia’s Muslim community (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 7 – Whenever imam Alaa Elzokm comes across conspiracy theories – whether in person or online – he bridles at their poor sourcing.


‘It’s our turn’: Inside the Christian Right conference plotting a political takeover (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 6 – Craig Kelly was lauded as a hero, a federal MP likened his colleagues to nappies and people joked about needing a World War to distract from gender identity debates.


Brad found himself ‘living a lie’ as a missionary. Now he celebrates as a Peacock Mormon (ABC News)
Mar 4 – After putting the finishing touches on a bejewelled angel costume, 50-year-old Brad Harker sums up his life as “one huge full circle”.