by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
March 16 - 23, 2014
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
Mar 20 - The first regional Victorian hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are being held in Ballarat this week, where up to 40 deaths have been attributed to abuse-related illnesses including post traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Mar 21 - Cardinal George Pell's private secretary has told the royal commission into child sexual abuse the Catholic Church's vigorous cross-examination of a victim during litigation was wrong.
Royal commission: Pell instructed lawyers to fight Ellis claim 'tooth and nail' (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 22 - The Catholic Church's insurer insisted on being "kept in the loop" in the John Ellis case after lawyers expressed concern at Cardinal George Pell's "tooth and nail" approach, according to evidence at the child sex abuse royal commission.
Victim offered no sympathy by dean of St Mary’s Cathedral (The Australian)
Mar 22 - A TEENAGER who told the dean of Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral he had been sexually abused was allegedly “humiliated” by the Catholic cleric, who had “a complaint file as big as the New Testament”, church lawyers have said.
A childhood lost to abuse (The West Australian)
Mar 23 - For almost 40 years, Troy Treneman has tried to forget the horrific events that robbed him of a childhood.
Songlines suffering: desert men in pain when secrets on display (The Australian)
Mar 22 - THE late light is fading above the Amata community in the Pitjantjatjara lands, and it’s night-time as well for the authority of traditional men of law such as Hector Burton, the best-known artist in the Western Desert lands.
Mar 21 - The community of Yass is vowing to fight a decision to close the town's Catholic high school.
Child removed from NSW public school after prayer vote (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 23 - Many public schools still recite Christian prayers at assemblies, despite the concerns of parents who say the education system should be secular.
Mar 23 - A former victim of sexual abuse by priests will sit on a new commission created to root out paedophilia in the Catholic Church, the Vatican says.
Also: Pope outlines sex abuse commission (The Australian)
Mar 23 - POPE Francis has named the initial members of a commission to advise him on sex abuse policy, tapping lay and religious experts - and an Irish woman assaulted as a child by a priest - to start plotting the commission's tasks and priorities.
Shanghai's 'underground' Catholic leader dies (The West Australian)
Mar 17 - Shanghai (AFP) - The head of the underground Catholic Church in Shanghai, Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang, has died, a US-based group said, as it urged China's Communist government to allow greater religious freedom.
Naked glories (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 22 – (Opinion: Brian Johnston ) It's my first visit to the Vatican and I am bemused. Nude male statues, displaying melon-like rounded buttocks and dangling bits and occasionally draped in revealing togas, are crammed into corners.
Pope tells Mafia to stop evil or prepare for hell (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 22 - Rome: Pope Francis, in an annual ceremony held to remember the hundreds of innocent people murdered by the Italian mafia, made a solemn plea for mobsters to change or else "end up in hell".
Also: 'Stop doing evil,' pope tells mafia (The West Australian)
Mar 22 - Rome (AFP) - Pope Francis called on the mafia to "stop doing evil" as he met relatives of their victims on Friday to demonstrate the Catholic Church's opposition to organised crime.
StanChart opens Islamic banking in Kenya, eyes region (The West Australian)
Mar 19 - (Reuters) - Standard Chartered has launched Islamic banking services in Kenya, the first foray of its "Saadiq" brand into Africa, and it will use Kenya as a testbed for expanding the brand across the continent, a bank executive told Reuters.
Iran's Khamenei reiterates doubts about Holocaust (The West Australian)
Mar 22 - Tehran (AFP) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday voiced doubts about the existence and scale of the Holocaust, questioning the West's "red lines" on freedom of expression.
Mar 22 - A New Zealand citizen is among at least nine civilians, including children and foreigners, killed in a Taliban attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul.
Bin Laden son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith speaks in US court (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 22 - New York: Osama bin Laden's son-in-law has recounted the night of the September 11, 2001, attacks, when the al-Qaeda leader sent a messenger to drive him into a mountainous area for a meeting inside a cave in Afghanistan, in surprise testimony in a Manhattan courtroom.
Taliban teens in hotel slaughter (The Australian)
Mar 22 - TALIBAN militants have sent an ominous message about their ability to infiltrate even the most secure areas of Afghanistan just a fortnight before presidential elections, killing nine people, including two children and several foreigners, in an attack on Kabul’s heavily fortified Serena Hotel.
Gunmen kill four in 'terrorist' attack on Kenyan church (The West Australian)
Mar 23 - MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Two gunmen stormed a church near the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa on Sunday and opened fire on worshippers, killing four people and wounding others, in what police called a terrorist attack.
Mar 19 - Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has launched an organisation to end modern slavery, with the support of the Pope and the senior Islamic authority.
Mar 18 - Thousands of Indian widows have broken with tradition and flocked to Holi, the spring festival of colours in the holy city of Vrindavan.
Mar 20 - Noah star Russell Crowe had hoped for a theological discussion with the Pontiff.
Fred Phelps, founder of anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, dies at 84 (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 21 - During a life that spanned more than eight decades, Fred Phelps Sr, was many things: a father, a civil rights attorney, a one-time US congressional hopeful.
Sister Cristina Scuccia stuns panel on The Voice of Italy, becomes global hit online (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 22 - The cliche "voice of an angel" has been worn thin by reality TV talent shows.
In China, Michelle Obama touts freedom of speech, religion (The West Australian)
Mar 22 - Beijing (AFP) - US First Lady Michelle Obama on Saturday emphasised the importance of universal rights, telling a crowd of students in Beijing that freedom of expression and religion should not be determined by one's country of birth.
Mar 21 - Lawyers for a group opposing a mosque development at Gungahlin have told the ACT Supreme Court planners were too "chummy" with the proponents of the project.
Mar 23 - THE government’s only Jewish MP, Josh Frydenberg, has placed himself at odds with the nation’s Jewish leadership by backing the Coalition’s reforms to the Racial Discrimination Act.
Christian women lose religious discrimination appeal (news.com.au)
Mar 16 - A CHRISTIAN mother and her daughter have failed to prove that a State Government requirement compelling them to be photographed in order to hold a driver’s licence, was an act of religious discrimination.
Mar 16 - MAYBE, just maybe, the decision to allow the construction of an 18-metre-high granite statue of Buddha at Sellicks Hill, south of Adelaide, is a small sign South Australia is becoming a more tolerant, mature and enlightened community.
Former sect leader pleads guilty to child sex charges (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 20 - A former leader of a secretive Victorian sect has pleaded guilty to child sex charges in a Gippsland court.
SA-born missionary John Short was actually an agent of God (Adelaide Now)
Mar 21 - JOHN Alexander Short sits opposite, hands clasped one upon the other.
Church of Scientology drug rehab facility opposed (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 22 - An offshoot of the Church of Scientology, the Association for Better Living and Education, has applied to Wyong Shire Council to run a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in the Yarramalong Valley in the central coast hinterland.
Into the light (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 22 - Career criminal David Holmes thought he might be getting his just desserts when he was abducted and tortured.
Church spires dwarfed but not defeated (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 23 – (Opinion: Jenny McPherson) In my suburb in the last couple of years a 14-storey apartment building has grown up, dwarfing the old former bank at its feet, and the not insubstantial church next door.
Former Cronulla Sharks rugby league player Paul Stevens to star in TV sermons (Daily Telegraph, Sydney)
Mar 23 - PASTOR Paul Stevens, of Camden’s Lifehouse Church, might be an unlikely television star, but his heartfelt delivery of the word of God has struck a chord with people seeking a new perspective on religion.
From the Archive…