Religion News Selection

March 21 – April 4, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



New Zealand’s Catholic Church apologises to abuse victims at royal commission hearing (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 26 – New Zealand’s Catholic Church has formally apologised to the survivors of abuse within the church and said its systems and culture must change.

Catholic Church

Pope Francis presides over Way Of The Cross to empty St Peter’s Square (ABC News)
Apr 3 – Pope Francis has presided over the Way of the Cross procession on Good Friday in a nearly empty St Peter’s Square.


How former Islamic extremist Haseeb Hamayoon had his ideology changed  (ABC News)
Apr 2 – By his own admission, Haseeb Hamayoon at his most radical ranked a nine out of 10 in terms of his extremist views.


Archaeologists identify 3,200-year-old temple mural of spider god in Peru (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 26 – Archaeologists in northern Peru have identified a 3,200-year-old mural painted on the side of an ancient adobe temple that is thought to depict a zoomorphic, knife-wielding spider god associated with rain and fertility.

Nike sues MSCHF over 666 pairs of Lil Nas X ‘Satan Shoes’ that contain ‘human blood’ (ABC News)
Mar 30 – Nike is suing a New York-based company that produced so-called Satan Shoes purportedly containing a drop of human blood as part of a collaboration with Old Town Road singer Lil Nas X.

Pet psychic business blossoms in Taiwan as people seek connection without kids (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 31 – Taipei, Taiwan: Seated outside a cafe, Yoyo Hsu prepares to commune with the dead.

‘Separated by distance but united in faith’: Holy Week celebrated in shadow of virus (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 3 – Jerusalem: Christians in the Holy Land marked Good Friday without the mass pilgrimages usually seen in the days leading up to Easter because of the coronavirus, and worshippers in many other predominantly Christian countries where the virus is still raging observed their second annual Holy Week with tight restrictions on gatherings.


Dozens of federal MPs back motion accusing China of human rights breaches against Uyghur people (ABC News)
Mar 22 – Two federal members of Parliament have compared China’s treatment of Uyghurs to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany before the Holocaust, with politicians across the spectrum lining up to condemn human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

‘Shield not a sword’: Committee backs new religious freedom laws (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 31 – A majority of a NSW parliamentary committee has endorsed a push to amend the state’s anti-discrimination laws to protect religious freedom, in a move that has divided MPs and triggered a wider backlash.


Society will pay for loss of its Christian ideals (The Australian)
Mar 27 – (Opinion: Greg Sheridan) Without religious belief our relationships are diminished.

The Sydney Uniting Church appoints history-making transgender minister (ABC News)
Mar 31 – When Reverend Josephine ‘Jo’ Inkpin was inducted into the Uniting Church as a minister earlier this month, there were “tears of joy”.

Scientology is shrinking fast and getting richer. How is this possible? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Apr 3 – Paul Schofield was rebuilding his life.

The Aussie Camino is a picturesque pilgrimage inspired by Australia’s only saint, Mary MacKillop (ABC News)
Apr 3 – For 1,000 years, millions of people have walked in each other’s footsteps on a revered pilgrimage trail in north-western Spain.

In search of the immortal soul in a modern world (The Australian)
Apr 3 – (Opinion: John Carroll ) Immortality has become the great question mark. The answer used to be provided at Easter, but for the secular modern age, belief in any form of life after death is in doubt.

We asked Australians if they believe in God or the supernatural. Here’s what they said (ABC News)
Apr 4 – Only 48 per cent of Australians say they believe in ghosts or the possibility they may exist, but 69 per cent say the same for the soul, according to new research.