Religion News Selection

Nov 10 – 17, 2019

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Full bench of the High Court to consider George Pell’s fate (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 13 – Disgraced Cardinal George Pell will remain isolated in his prison cell for months before learning whether the full bench of the High Court will consider his bid for freedom.

Also: Pell’s next-to-last chance: Cardinal takes final prayer to secular law (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 14 – And still there continues this saga concerning the church and the secular courts of man … and the once mighty, currently fallen.

Also: George Pell’s appeal to the High Court (The Saturday Paper)
Nov 16 – (Opinion: Russell Marks) The High Court’s decision to hear George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for five counts of sexually assaulting choirboys was met with dismay by survivors of clergy abuse and their advocates.

Peter Hollingworth would lose entitlements due to handling of abuse allegations  (ABC News)
Nov 13 – A federal senator has proposed new laws that could strip former governor-general Peter Hollingworth of millions of dollars in public benefits over his mishandling of sex abuse complaints in the Anglican church.


Anglican bishop says water’s spiritual need should be recognised as ACCC water inquiry underway  (ABC News)
Nov 16 – The Right Reverend Bishop Donald Kirk says that water needs to be seen as a physical and spiritual fundamental, rather than a commodity, as hearings for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into the water market take place.


Three more altar boys say they were abused by priests in Vatican (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 16 – Three more former altar boys have claimed they were sexually abused by two priests in the Vatican, as the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church zeroed in for a second time on its headquarters.

Catholic Church

Medieval Catholicism explains the differences between cultures to this day, researchers say (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 15 – Washington: A sweeping theory published Thursday in the journal Science posits a new explanation for the divergent course of Western civilisation from the rest of the world: The early Catholic Church reshaped family structures, and by doing so, changed human psychology forever after.

The Pope thinks big tech companies need to do a better job of protecting children (
Nov 15 – Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has said technology company executives and investors must be held accountable if they put profit before the protection of children, including from easy access to pornography on the web.


When it comes to Islamophobia, Tory eyes are still wide shut (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 11 – (Opinion: Nesrine Malik) The black protagonist of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man struggles to divine the correct norms and beliefs in a world where he is invisible because white people refuse to see him.


Bryson warns English churches at risk (
Nov 16 – Author Bill Bryson has warned that harsh weather linked to climate change will leave hundreds of English churches at risk of destruction or closure this winter.

Japanese Emperor Naruhito takes part in sacred goddess ritual to ‘transform’ him (ABC News)
Nov 15 – Japanese Emperor Naruhito has performed an elaborate and secretive ritual dating back 1,300 years, giving thanks to the sun goddess Amaterasu as part of his enthronement rites.

School chaplain resigns after suggesting gay people should stay single (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 16 – A chaplain at a private school created by the founder of the Methodist church has stood down after suggesting that gay people should stay single.


US offers to rescue Australian Islamic State families in Syria (ABC News)
Nov 16 – The United States is offering to rescue the Australian families of Islamic State (IS) group fighters trapped in Syria, as it ramps up pressure on countries to repatriate their citizens from the war zone.

Also: ‘Nothing has changed’: Australia unmoved by US offer to rescue IS families (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 16 – The Morrison government says “nothing has changed” about its response to the families of Islamic State fighters trapped in Syria, despite a public offer from the United States to use its military assets to help remove more than 60 Australian women and children being held in camps there.


Religious freedom bill ‘will sustain nastiness and hostility’, Michael Kirby warns (The Guardian, Australia)
Nov 11 – The Coalition’s religious freedom bill will result in a rise in both religious intolerance and anti-religious hostility, threatening secularism in Australia, Michael Kirby has warned.

When the bin chicken was a god: new research sheds light on ancient ibis (Brisbane Times)
Nov 14 – The humble bin chicken is maligned by many in Australia as a pest, but say that in ancient Egypt and you might be put to death.

The money lenders in the temple after head monk racks up big property debts (Sydney Morning Herald)
Nov 17 – For sale: Buddhist temple.


From the Archive…

Religion News Australia 2019 – 22 (Nov 3 – 10)

Religion News Australia 2019 – 21 (Oct 30 – Nov 3)

Religion News Australia 2019 – 20 (May 12 – 19)

Religion News Australia 2019 – 19 (May 5 – 12)

Religion News Australia 2019 – 18 (Apr 28 – May 5)