Religion News Selection

March 7 – 14, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘Issues of concern’: Kambala invites ex-students to report after grooming concerns (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 12 – Eastern suburbs private girls’ school Kambala will set up an external complaints process after graduates came forward with concerns about the school’s historical responses to grooming behaviours allegedly displayed by some staff members.


Are obsolete morals holding us back? (The Australian)
Mar 14 – (Review)  Nobody sane believes universal laws of morality are grounded in science — so why do we treat them as iron certainties?


Catholic schools to review how sexual consent is taught in religious context (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 13 – The NSW Catholic school sector will lead its own review of how it delivers sex and consent education in a religious context, saying a “one size fits all” approach across the state is unlikely to fix the problem of teenage sexual assault.


‘People are haemorrhaging stories of absolute horror’: Ireland’s baby tragedy (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 13 – They were called “mother and baby homes”, but according to a recently released investigation, Ireland’s institutions for unwed pregnant women more closely resembled houses of horror – and giving birth was just the beginning of the nightmare.

Catholic Church

A ‘barbarous blow’ but pope asks Christians to forgive IS extremists (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 8 – Qaraqosh, Iraq: Pope Francis ended a four-day trip to Iraq by urging Christians to forgive the injustices against them by Muslim extremists and to rebuild as he visited the wrecked shells of churches and met ecstatic crowds in the community’s historic heartland — places nearly erased by the Islamic State’s horrific reign.

Religious Violence

‘I can never ever forget’: sister of Christchurch mosque victim on grief and acceptance (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 13 – A few months after the Christchurch mosque attacks, Aya Al-Umari went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and from there to Abu Dhabi, where she and her brother Hussein grew up.

IOC under fire after ‘dismissing’ claims of genocide against Uighurs in China (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 13 – The International Olympic Committee is facing fresh criticism from human rights groups who have accused it of hiding behind political neutrality to stage the Beijing Winter Olympics in a country that is “actively committing a genocide”.

Two years after the Christchurch massacre, I still hold my heart every time I go to mosque (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 14 – (Opinion: Ramia Abdo Sultan) As the news on the Christchurch massacre unfolded in 2019, I was at work, ironically dealing with a different type of aggression, namely that of a client detailing the injustices she was experiencing at the hands of her partner, and the exit plan she would soon take.


Nun begs Myanmar police to stop but killing continues around her (Brisbane Times)
Mar 10 – A nun went down on her knees in front of police in a northern Myanmar town pleading for a stop to the army’s violent crackdown on protesters, before shots rang out. She later said a child was shot in the head.


‘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.


No religious right fix: WA Liberal leader (The Australian)
Mar 9 – Zak Kirkup says he does not believe the party’s preselection processes have been manipulated.

McGowan commits to gay conversion therapy ban (
Mar 13 – WA Premier Mark McGowan has confirmed his government would ban gay conversion practices if re-elected.


‘Only option we had’: Why Simon’s parents sent him to the Scientologists for rehab (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 8 – When Margaret and John Millington’s son Simon was in the grips of an opioid addiction, his parents wanted to send him to a rehabilitation program. The only one available was called Narconon.

How native title holders won their fight to save a sacred site on a Torres Strait island (ABC News)
Mar 9 – For the Kaurareg people of the Torres Strait this isn’t just a hillside. It’s sacred ground.

It’s a sin! Priests finally reveal the secrets of the confessional (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 11 – What’s the most common transgression people feel guilty about? Sex, of course.