Religion News Selection

July 25 – August 1, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Legal payout brings hope for other victims of paedophile priest (The Age, Melbourne)
July 26 – As the first of Kevin O’Donnell’s victims to report the paedophile priest to police, he paved a courageous path for other abuse survivors to follow.


Bishop: Catholic Diocese of Albany covered up sexual abuse by priests (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 1 – The longtime former head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany has said it covered up sexual abuse by priests for decades and protected clergy by sending them to private treatment instead of calling police.

Catholic Church

Cardinal, playboy and femme fatale stand trial in Vatican corruption case (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 26 – Rome: A playboy, a femme fatale spy and a powerful Italian cardinal are preparing to stand trial in a Vatican corruption inquiry that has changed the way the Holy See conducts criminal justice.


Anger as Poland plans law that will stop Jews reclaiming wartime homes (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 1 – A few years ago, Shoshana Greenberg stood outside a building in Lodz, Poland, once owned by her family, with an old photograph in her hands and tears running down her face.


Tibet and China clash over next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama (The Guardian, Australia)
Aug 1 – A couple of years ago, during a meeting of Tibetan leaders in Dharamshala in India, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was asked about his reincarnation.


Cory Bernardi has given his blessing, but will this be a second coming for the Family First Party? (ABC News)
July 29 – In the past couple of months the SA Liberal Party has been tearing itself apart over an influx of new conservative Christian members.

Attorney-General directs Parks Australia to fight charges of sacred site damage in Kakadu (ABC News)
July 30 – The Attorney-General has intervened in a court battle over alleged sacred site damage in Kakadu National Park, arguing the Commonwealth is not bound by protections enshrined in Northern Territory law.


Sydney Hillsong pastors gain permission to leave Australia (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 26 – The Sydney-based co-founders of the global Pentecostal Christian church Hillsong preached in person at a service in Mexico on Monday and have been based in the United States for several months, despite the Australian border being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Wrong morally’: Official photo of Ben Roberts-Smith was altered to hide Crusader’s cross (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 27 – Former special forces soldier Ben Roberts-Smith displayed a contentious Crusader’s cross on his uniform while on duty in Afghanistan, with the symbol later digitally removed by the Department of Defence in a widely distributed photo of the decorated war veteran.

Far-right extremist Neil Erikson jailed for disrupting Melbourne church service with homophobic rant (The Guardian, Australia)
July 30 – The far-right extremist Neil Erikson has been sentenced to 10 weeks in jail after he marched into a queer-friendly Melbourne church and hurled homophobic abuse, with a magistrate labelling his behaviour “wilfully ignorant” and “shameful”.

Ancient sites, rainbow serpents raise risks for Australian miners (Sydney Morning Herald)
July 31 – Sacred sites, endangered sawfish and Aboriginal rainbow serpents are the latest challenges confronting Australia as the nation’s top mining companies meet for their biggest annual conference.

What the religion question in the census really measures (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 1 – For the past 100 years Australians have been asked to identify their religion in the census.