by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
February 16 - 23, 2014
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
Salvation Army draws ire over award to accused child abuser (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 17 - A Salvation Army officer accused of physically and sexually abusing dozens of young boys at a boys' home in south Sydney was given the army's silver star award at a function late last year, despite the allegations against him.
Feb 18 - An online petition is urging the Catholic Church in South Australia to settle claims for children abused while in the care of the former St Ann's Special School.
Adelaide abuse inquiry hearing to go ahead (The Australian)
Feb 21 - CONCERNS that a public hearing into an Adelaide special school where disabled children were sexually abused could prejudice civil proceedings have been overruled by the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
Feb 21 - The royal commission has rejected Catholic Church concerns about the timing of hearings into sex abuse in an Adelaide special needs school.
Church claims lies, collusion on scandal (Perth Now)
Feb 20 - THE Catholic Church has accused two of its former officers of colluding and lying to shift the blame about a pedophilia scandal.
Also: Police 'not told' of sex abuse (The Australian)
Feb 21 - TWO Catholic church officials have admitted failing to inform police when told of the sex abuse allegations against a teacher at a church-run primary school.
Feb 21 - IN an attempt to defend himself against allegations of sexual abuse, disgraced teacher Gerard Byrnes wrote to his principal declaring he never had inappropriate contact with children, and in fact many approached him.
Also: Child officials told to protect Church (The West Australian)
Feb 21 - A culture of protecting the church existed in a diocese where a Catholic teacher raped and molested 13 girls, an inquiry has heard.
Feb 22 - A director of Catholic Education has admitted a systemic failure of child safety policies allowed a paedophile teacher to abuse students at a Queensland school over a two-year period.
Also: Bishop to give evidence to abuse inquiry (The West Australian)
Feb 23 - The bishop who sacked three men after a pedophilia scandal at a Catholic primary school in Queensland is set to give evidence at an inquiry on Monday.
Clerics deemed abuse claim a money grab (The Australian)
Feb 22 - A CONFIDENTIAL Vatican inquiry that criticised an alleged victim of child sex abuse was conducted by three senior serving Australian priests, two of whom now say the man may have been motivated by money.
Feb 21 - RUSSELL Crowe’s epic new movie Noah — the one with all the animals entering an ark two-by-two — is experiencing its own deluge.
Monks mark a special year (The West Australian)
Feb 22 - It is lunchtime in the refectory of the New Norcia monastery.
Primary school principals shut down religious education classes (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 17 - Hundreds of primary school principals have stopped offering weekly religious education in schools, despite a department requirement to offer the classes.
Feb 22 - Victoria's Education Department has launched an investigation into what it calls inappropriate and offensive religious material distributed at a primary school.
Also: Uproar at 'Biblezine' sex tips for kids (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 22 - Parents and teachers have called for an urgent overhaul of religious education in schools after year 6 children were given material claiming girls who wear revealing clothes are inviting sexual assault, and homosexuality, masturbation and sex before marriage are sinful.
Vatican attacks abuse victims, offered payout to ‘appear concerned’ (The Australian)
Feb 21 - A VATICAN investigation into claims of child abuse by a Catholic priest has attacked the credibility of the alleged victims and said a decision to offer financial compensation was made “for
Feb 18 - Pope Francis has begun a week of meetings with Roman Catholic cardinals, including Australian Cardinal George Pell, to discuss how to overhaul the Catholic Church's scandal-hit bureaucracy and finances.
Feb 22 - POPE Francis appointed his first batch of cardinals, with his predecessor Benedict making a surprise rare appearance at the ceremony naming the new “princes of the Church.”
Also: Ex-pope Benedict in rare public appearance at cardinals ceremony (The West Australian)
Feb 22 - Vatican City (AFP) - Former pope Benedict XVI, who retired last year, made a rare public appearance on Saturday at a ceremony lead by his successor Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica to appoint new cardinals.
Fatwa blast for Mars settlers (The West Australian)
Feb 20 - A fatwa has been issued after religious leaders considered interplanetary colonialism.
Malaysian fatwa ruling sought on 'apocalyptic' silk (The West Australian)
Feb 22 - Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - A Malaysian conservative group's insistence that Muslim men wearing silk was a "sign of the apocalypse" prompted a call Friday for religious authorities to study whether to impose a fatwa on the fabric, a report said.
Hungary Jews seek return of WWII looted Torahs from Russia (The West Australian)
Feb 19 - Budapest (AFP) - Hungarian Jewish leaders said Tuesday they had begun talks with Russian authorities over the return of a huge collection of religious items looted by the Red Army during World War II.
Feb 20 - The United Nation's rights envoy to Myanmar has raised "serious concerns" over the impartiality of a government investigation into allegations of deadly attacks on Rohingya Muslims in the country's Rakhine state.
Mortar attack against Iraqi town kills 22 (The Australian)
Feb 21 - A MORTAR attack has struck a busy area in a mainly Shiite town south of Iraq's capital, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 50, authorities say.
Militants shoot down Iraqi helicopter and occupy northern town (The West Australian)
Feb 23 - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Militants shot down a helicopter on Saturday and briefly occupied a town, in an escalating turf war with Iraq's government that has killed at least 25 people in two days, police said.
'Snake Salvation' star Jamie Coots dies from bite (news.com.au)
Feb 17 - A PENTECOSTAL pastor and reality TV star, whose sermons involved handling deadly snakes, has died from a bite.
Why healthy people choose to end their lives in a suicide clinic (The Australian)
Feb 19 - WOMEN, the rich, the educated and the lonely are most likely to choose assisted suicide, according to a Swiss study.
Zulu church embraces faux fur to protect leopards (The West Australian)
Feb 19 - Durban (South Africa) (AFP) - Carrying Zulu warrior shields and draped in leopard skins, the men of South Africa's Shembe Church move hypnotically as they go through the steps of a traditional religious ritual.
Floor collapses at US church centre (The Australian)
Feb 21 - AS a Mississippi student minister preached at a youth centre, the wooden floor started to rumble and quickly collapsed, sending about 70 people tumbling to the first floor below.
British Christian leaders attack government's welfare cuts (The West Australian)
Feb 21 - LONDON (Reuters) - Leading Christian clergy in Britain, including the head of the Church of England, attacked welfare cuts by the Conservative-led government on Thursday, putting them at odds with Prime Minister David Cameron.
China urges Obama to cancel meeting with Dalai Lama (The West Australian)
Feb 21 - BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China urged the United States on Friday to scrap plans for President Barack Obama to meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama later in the day, warning it would "seriously damage" ties between the two countries.
Feb 22 - US president Barack Obama has held low-key talks with the Dalai Lama, prompting anger from the Chinese government.
Also: Obama throws support behind Dalai Lama, Tibet rights (The West Australian)
Feb 22 - Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Friday offered his "strong support" for the protection of Tibetans' human rights in China as he defied protests from Beijing to meet the Dalai Lama.
Imam Riaz Tasawar held in immigration detention after visa sponsorship cancelled (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 21 - A Pakistani imam, charged with conducting the alleged marriage of a 12-year-old girl, is being held at Villawood detention centre after the sponsorship of his visa was cancelled.
If we look deep down are we anti-Semitic? (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 21 – (Opinion: Derek Rielly) Shabbat is the most moving of all religious rituals, at least around my part of town.
Church leaders pray for drought-ending rain (ABC News)
Feb 19 - Gympie residents praying for drought-breaking rain are placing a caveat on just how much they want in the south-east Queensland city.
South Australian man detained in North Korea on suspicion of doing missionary work (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 19 - BEIJING: A 75-year-old Australian man has been detained in North Korea for distributing religious materials, leaving diplomats scrambling to prevent a potentially lengthy detention in the secretive regime.
Also: Australian held in North Korea (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 20 - A 75-year-old Australian man working as a Christian missionary in North Korea has been arrested in Pyongyang.
Also: Family awaits news in North Korea case (The Australian)
Feb 20 - THE family of an Australian man detained in North Korea has gone another day without news, while Prime Minister Tony Abbott is using the case to warn travellers they must obey the laws of the countries they visit.
Also: Missionary held in N. Korea left pamphlet in temple (The West Australian)
Feb 20 - Sydney (AFP) - An Australian missionary was arrested in North Korea after he left a pamphlet promoting Christianity in a Buddhist temple, his Chinese travel companion has recounted, as his wife says his fate rests with God.
Also: Arrest serves as a warning of North Korea perils (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Feb 20 – (Opinion: Editorial) IT is difficult for some to understand just how former South Australian man John Short came to be arrested in North Korea.
Feb 21 – (Opinion) JOHN Short, the SA missionary detained in North Korea for passing out religious material, is either a complete idiot - or just following his heart.
Feb 21 - An Australian missionary being held in North Korea had admitted he was in the country for more than just tourism, according to North Korean tourism officials who have been in touch with his Chinese travel company.
Also: South Australian man John Short detained in North Korea, now facing 15 years in jail (Adelaide Now)
Feb 21 - NORTH Korean authorities remain silent on the fate of imprisoned 75-year-old South Australian missionary John Short.
Also: N Korea will 'use Aussie as pawn' (The Australian)
Feb 21 - AN Australian missionary detained in North Korea faces the prospect of a stint in prison as the totalitarian state is likely to use his arrest as leverage in its quest to reopen an embassy in Canberra.
Giant statue of Buddha to dominate Adelaide’s southern coastline (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Feb 21 - LOCALS have given their blessing to a giant stone Buddha statue to tower over Sellicks Hill within a year.
Suspicious fire destroys NSW church (The West Australian)
Feb 23 - A church in the regional NSW city of Bathurst has been destroyed by a suspicious fire.
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