by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
August 12 - 19, 2012
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
Former judge to advise church sex abuse inquiry (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 13 - Retired Supreme Court judge Frank Vincent will be the senior legal adviser to the parliamentary inquiry into how churches handled complaints of sexual abuse, the state government has announced.
Abuse victims fear having lost the right to testify (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 14 - VICTIMS of clergy sexual abuse who signed confidentiality agreements with the Catholic Church as part of their settlements must apply to the church for permission to give evidence at the parliamentary inquiry into church abuse.
Secret tapes reveal church reluctance to report abuser (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 18 - A SECRET police bugging operation caught a senior Catholic figure on tape saying it was not up to him to report a paedophile priest and encouraging a victim not to go to the authorities for fear of bad publicity.
Fears rogue priests could sue for damages (news.com.au)
Aug 18 - THE disciplinary processes for dealing with rogue priests in almost every Anglican diocese in Australia are in doubt because of a landmark court challenge to their validity.
A tale of religion, smokes and mirrors (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 19 – (Opinion: Peter FitzSimons) Stand by for more fun controversy over Scientology, when Harvey Weinstein's film, The Master, starring the great Philip Seymour Hoffman, is released next month.
Taiwan same-sex union points to Asia shift on gay rights (The West Australian)
Aug 12 - TAIPEI (AFP) - A Buddhist cleric’s decision to wed two women in Taiwan is the latest sign that obstacles to same-sex unions are quietly coming down in Asia, with religion posing less of a hindrance than in the West.
Aug 14 - The Vatican has ordered the former butler of Pope Benedict XVI to stand trial for theft and leaking confidential papers in a scandal that has embroiled the Holy See.
Also: Pope's butler, 'accomplice' must stand trial (The West Australian)
Aug 14 - VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI's former butler and another Vatican employee must stand trial for leaking confidential papers in a scandal that exposed feuds within the Church, a magistrate said Monday.
Also: Pope's butler who leaked papers 'on behalf of holy spirit' sent for trial (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 15 - ROME: The Pope's butler may face up to six years in jail after a Vatican judge sent him to trial for leaking papal correspondence containing embarrassing allegations of corruption at the Vatican.
Also: Vatican openness in butler case not enough, critics say (The West Australian)
Aug 15 - VATICAN CITY (AFP) - The Vatican has hailed its report on the decision to put the pope's butler on trial as proof of its transparency, but critics suspect the secretive state of diverting attention from its scandals.
Also: The Pope, the stolen papers, and the butler (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 16 – (Opinion: Catherine Pepinster) Only the truth behind the Vatileaks scandal can free the Catholic Church.
Papal envoy to Australia to move to Israel (The West Australian)
Aug 19 - Pope Benedict XVI has named Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto as a new envoy to Israel.
Ramadan criers on the decline in Iraq (The West Australian)
Aug 12 - BAGHDAD (AFP) - Beating a small drum and walking through the streets of his neighbourhood in the early hours, Luay Sabbah shouts, "Suhoor! Suhoor!", plying a craft that is increasingly rare in Iraq.
Saudi Arabia approves $16.5b Mecca revamp (ABC News)
Aug 15 - Saudi Arabia has approved a 62 billion riyal ($16.5 billion) plan to modernise the transport system in its holy city of Mecca, including building a bus network and metro system.
World Muslim body suspends Syria's membership (The West Australian)
Aug 16 - MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AFP) - The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria in a meeting attended by its staunch ally Iran, in a move hailed early Thursday by the United States as one that sends "a strong message" to Damascus.
Far-right group shows Mohammed cartoon at Berlin mosque (The West Australian)
Aug 19 - BERLIN (AFP) - A far-right group displayed a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed outside a Berlin mosque Saturday amid a heavy police presence, while far-leftists and anti-Nazis staged a counter-demonstration.
Ramadan game brings tinderbox Iraq city together (The West Australian)
Aug 19 - KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) - Every Ramadan, as they have for decades, the diverse residents of Kirkuk gathered to play a game called Siniyah, which remains one of the few apolitical traditions in the disputed city of northern Iraq.
Anti-Semitic Hungarian far-right leader discovers he's Jewish (The Age, Melbourne)
Aug 16 - As a rising star in Hungary's far-right Jobbik Party, Csanad Szegedi was notorious for his incendiary comments about Jews.
Nigerian troops kill 20 Boko Haram Islamists (The West Australian)
Aug 13 - KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - Nigerian troops killed 20 suspected Boko Haram Islamists in the restive northeastern city of Maiduguri, a senior officer said, an account quickly denied by the militant group.
Pakistan to move against Taliban in border tribal areas (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 15 - PAKISTAN will launch combat operations against the Taliban soon in a tribal area near the Afghan border that also serves as a haven for leaders of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani network, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta says.
Gunmen kill 20 Shiite bus passengers (ABC News)
Aug 16 - Gunmen have pulled 20 Shiite Muslims from a bus and killed them at point blank range in Pakistan, the third such incident in six months.
Tibetan monk 'dies in China after fire protest' (The West Australian)
Aug 16 - BEIJING (AFP) - A Tibetan monk who set himself on fire this week in a southwestern town that has become a flashpoint for protests against Chinese rule has died, an exile group said on Thursday.
Aug 18 - A US military appeals court has indefinitely postponed the court martial for accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan while it decides if the trial judge can order his beard forcibly shaved, US Army officials say.
US drone kills six militants in Pakistan (news.com.au)
Aug 18 - A US drone attack has killed at least six militants in a remote Pakistani tribal town near the Afghan border.
Breaking up is hard to do in Afghanistan (Adelaide Now)
Aug 18 – (Opinion: Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau) AS Australian troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, the Taliban want peace, but first they have to find a way to get rid of al-Qaida.
Myanmar opens new probe into deadly sectarian unrest (The West Australian)
Aug 18 - YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar has set up a new commission to probe sectarian clashes that saw scores killed and displaced tens of thousands, members told AFP, following intense scrutiny of its handling of the issue.
Also: Myanmar moderates risk ire to calm sectarian rift (The West Australian)
Aug 18 - YANGON (AFP) - A Myanmar blogger who was a poster boy for online resistance to the former junta has become the target of a backlash by social media users for speaking out against hatred aimed at Rohingya Muslims.
Indian guru steps up anti-graft protest (news.com.au)
Aug 13 - A POPULAR yoga guru is calling on his supporters to march to India's parliament to intensify an anti-corruption protest.
Indian Sikhs push 'turban pride' (The West Australian)
Aug 13 - AMRITSAR, India (AFP) - The evening turban-tying class in the Sikh-dominated Indian city of Amritsar is packed with pre-teen boys learning a centuries-old tradition -- that religious leaders fear is under threat.
Aug 14 - On the seventh day God rested. But deciding which day of the week that was gets difficult when the international date line shifts.
Aug 14 - The Methodist Church in Fiji will finally hold its annual congregation after a four-year ban was lifted by the country's interim government.
New Bible translation in Papua New Guinea (ABC News)
Aug 14 - A new version of the Bible has been produced with the New Testament translated into the Marik language, spoken by several thousand people in Papua New Guinea's Madang region.
Aug 16 - Celebrations are on in the south Indian city of Coimbatore where in a large hall relatives have gathered to observe the 80th birthday of the head of the family.
Despite shootings, Americans want right to bear arms, poll shows (The Australian)
Aug 17 - AN overwhelming majority of Americans, particularly whites, are adamant about the constitutional right to bear arms, a poll showed this week amid a rash of shootings across the US.
Unification Church founder still critical (The West Australian)
Aug 17 - SEOUL (AFP) - The founder of the controversial Unification Church remains critically ill three days after he was admitted to a South Korean hospital with complications from pneumonia, his spokesman said Friday.
Pussy Riot Trial
Church hounding of Pussy Riot troubles Russians (The West Australian)
Aug 14 - MOSCOW (AFP) - The dominant Russian Orthodox Church's tough stance against the all-girl punk band Pussy Riot has troubled some faithful and estranged it from the younger generation it must foster for future growth.
Russia detains four at Pussy Riot protest outside church (The West Australian)
Aug 16 - MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian police arrested four activists who demonstrated outside a landmark Moscow church in support of members of protest punk band Pussy Riot who are now on trial.
Protests swell on eve of Pussy Riot verdict (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 17 - MOSCOW: Three activists protesting in support of the jailed punk band Pussy Riot were detained as tensions heated up before the verdict in a trial seen as a key test of Vladimir Putin's crackdown on dissent.
Russian feminist punks found guilty (news.com.au)
Aug 17 - A RUSSIAN judge has found three members of punk band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism and incitement to religious hatred, in a trial widely seen as a test case of Kremlin tolerance for open dissent.
Pussy Riot members jailed for 'punk prayer' (ABC News)
Aug 18 - Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been sentenced to two years in a labour camp for staging a "blasphemous" church protest against president Vladimir Putin.
Russia condemned over Pussy Riot jailing (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 18 - The US has led global condemnation of the two-year prison sentences given to Russian punk band Pussy Riot, as supporters of the women grabbed balaclavas and took to the streets in protest around the world.
Sydney musos play for Pussy Riot (news.com.au)
Aug 18 - A SMALL group of Sydney musicians has joined a global support movement for Russian all-girl punk band Pussy Riot, who have been jailed in Moscow for their political views.
Outrage as Pussy Riot members jailed (Perth Now)
Aug 18 - A MOSCOW judge sentenced three members of the provocative punk band Pussy Riot to two years in prison each on hooliganism charges following a trial that drew international outrage as an emblem of Russia's intolerance of dissent.
US, Europe condemn two-year sentences for Pussy Riot (The Australian)
Aug 18 - THE US has led the global condemnation of the two-year sentences given to Russian punk band Pussy Riot, as supporters of the women grabbed balaclavas and took to the streets in protest around the world.
Putin braces for Pussy Riot verdict backlash. (The Australian)
Aug 18 - A MOSCOW court was to pass judgment yesterday on three women in a punk band who captured global attention by defying the Russian authorities and ridiculing President Vladimir Putin in a church.
Manicured fist of protest (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 19 – (Opinion: Michael Idov) From their perfectly pitched band name to their academic court statements, these women know exactly what they're doing.
Aug 15 - THOUSANDS of Muslims gathered in Lakemba Mosque overnight for a major religious celebration known as "the night of power''.
A fast secret between God and me (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 19 – (Opinion: Randa Abdel-Fattah) It is coffee that I miss the most.
Gillard agrees to address Christian lobby (The West Australian)
Aug 14 - Prime Minister Julia Gillard has agreed to address the Australian Christian Lobby's (ACL) conference in October.
Also: Atheist PM to woo Christian lobby (The Australian)
Aug 14 - JULIA Gillard, an atheist, is to be a keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby's national conference in October.
Church shelter plan left out in the cold (Canberra Times)
Aug 13 - The ACT government's rejection of a plan to house homeless people in churches through the depths of Canberra's winters is disgraceful, Opposition Leader Zed Seselja says.
ACT to outlaw religious vilification (ABC News)
Aug 14 - The ACT Government will move to broaden the Discrimination Act to cover persecution based on religion.
Also: Corbell moves for tough religious hate laws (Canberra Times)
Aug 14 - The ACT government will propose changes to the territory's Discrimination Act to make religious vilification illegal.
Also: Fears vilification change may affect churches (Canberra Times)
Aug 16 - Anglican Bishop Stuart Robinson fears changes to the ACT Discrimination Act could lead to religious disputes ending up in court and increase tension between faiths.
Cremations overtake burials as final choice (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 14 - Religion, space and economic rationalisation are all contributing to a funerary movement set to challenge long-held expectations about proper dealings with the dead, according to experts.
Shootings unrelated to religion or politics: police (Sydney Morning Herald)
Aug 15 - One of the state's most senior policemen says three shootings in the past two days have "nothing to do with religion or politics" and were simply examples of "criminals acting in a criminal manner".
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