Religion News Selection

September 19 – 26, 2021

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer committed to stand trial over child sex abuse charges (ABC News)
Sept 22 – A former ultra-orthodox Jewish school principal who is facing dozens of child sex abuse charges has vowed to fight the allegations against her after being ordered to stand trial.

Bid by Catholic church to stop child sexual abuse case rejected by NSW supreme court (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 25 – The Catholic church tried to stop a survivor suing it over the childhood abuse she suffered at the hands of a parish priest in northern New South Wales, despite its own records showing it knew the man was a paedophile but did nothing other than move him from parish to parish.


George Pell returned to Australia ahead of church reforms  (The Saturday Paper)
Sept 25 – Cardinal George Pell has spent the past several months in Sydney, as the Catholic Church prepares for its first reform conference in more than 80 years.

Religious Violence

Taliban bringing back executions, cutting off hands (Sydney Morning Herald)
Sept 24 – Kabul: One of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan says the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public.


Vax rules ‘top issue’ for people of faith (The Australian)
Sept 25 – A former South Australian state health minister who has relaunched the Christian party Family First is planning a major campaign against compulsory Covid vaccinations.

Politics is failing. Can Catholic principles show the way? (The Australian)
Sept 25 – (Opinion: Greg Craven) The sense in which citizens recognise their part in contributing to the good of every other Australian is dissolving into identity politics and isolation.


What is the Narnia-inspired Caldron Pool and is it fomenting ‘Christian nationalism’ in Australia? (The Guardian, Australia)
Sept 22 – On a Narnia-inspired website, amid anti-vaccination, anti-mask and anti-abortion posts, sit two petitions named for Hebrew prophets.

Is there likely to be a religious exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine? (ABC News)
Sept 25 – Since the recent round of stay-at-home orders were introduced in Sydney and Melbourne, religious messages and motifs have been popping up at loosely defined “anti lockdown” protests across Australia.

Churches fear vaccine mandates could lead to two-tiered society (Brisbane Times)
Sept 26 – Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Peter Comensoli is lobbying the state government to allow unvaccinated people to worship in person when the state reopens, warning that a double-dose COVID-19 vaccine requirement in exchange for certain freedoms could lead to a two-class society.