by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
Mar 7 - 21, 2010
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
Disgrace charge brought against bishop (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 9 - TWO South Australian Anglican bishops have brought formal charges of disgraceful and scandalous behaviour against a third, claiming that he tried to stack his diocesan council to get a $1 million payout and that he protected and promoted a senior priest accused of sexual abuse.
Also: Bullying, abuse charges laid against bishop (ABC News)
Mar 10 - Details have emerged of church charges laid against the Anglican Bishop of the Murray diocese, Ross Davies.
The ultimate betrayal (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 20 – (Opinion: Derryn Hinch) IN JANUARY last year, Mal Garvin was awarded the Order of Australia for ''service to the community'' and for ''the development of social welfare programs that support and guide young people, and as a broadcaster and author''.
Australian bishops lead crossing to Rome (The Australian)
Mar 18 - FOUR bishops, 40 priests and thousands of parishioners from the Traditional Anglican Communion will petition the Vatican by Easter to be received into the Catholic Church.
Anglican-Catholic union has a following (The Australian)
Mar 19 - FEDERAL Liberal MP Peter Slipper, the chancellor of the Traditional Anglican Communion, has backed moves for Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Vatican.
Religion minus the rhetoric (The Australian)
Mar 13 – (Review) HAVE you been perplexed, even angered by recent stoushes in the culture wars regarding religion, notably debate about Islam since September 11, and, more recently, the new atheists v all religion?
Hollywood heroes on a mission from God (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 15 - There's been a distinct whiff of the Good Book at the cinema of late - literally so in the case of Denzel Washington's latest, The Book of Eli.
Do Twilight, Harry Potter open door to the Devil? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 21 - THE appointment of a new exorcist by Sydney's Catholic Church precedes a warning by a senior clergyman that generation Y risks a dangerous fascination with the occult fuelled by the Twilight and Harry Potter series.
Mar 9 - The NSW Greens have lodged an official complaint over an advertising leaflet for a school in Sydney which they say fails to reveal the school's link to Scientology.
You pay $150m for rich schools (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Mar 20 - TAXPAYERS have helped fund tennis courts, swimming pools, gyms, playgrounds, green schemes and even an atrium refurbishment at some of the state's richest private schools.
Pope's brother 'unaware' of boys choir abuse (ABC News)
Mar 8 - Pope Benedict XVI's brother says he was never aware of sexual abuse in a famous southern German boys choir that he headed for nearly three decades.
Also: Pope's brother to testify in sex abuse case (ABC News)
Mar 9 - The brother of Pope Benedict XVI has agreed to testify in the sex scandal rocking Germany's Catholic Church.
German Catholics fume at pope's silence (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 15 - German Catholic groups have hit out at the pope's silence over a snowballing paedophilia priest scandal rocking his native country's Church.
Abuse link to Pope Benedict XVI 'failed' (The Australian)
Mar 15 - THE Vatican is fighting attempts to link Pope Benedict XVI to child sex abuse in a counter-offensive against widening pedophilia scandals.
Catholic Church leader in Ireland had role in vow of silence (The Australian)
Mar 15 - THE leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland is resisting calls for his resignation, despite admitting that he took part in meetings where the victims of a pedophile priest were forced to take a vow of silence.
New sex abuse case rocks German Catholics (ABC News)
Mar 17 - A German archdiocese that was governed by Pope Benedict from 1977 to 1982 says a priest has been suspended 24 years after he was convicted of sexually abusing children.
Catholic church sex scandal rocks faithful in Brazil (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 17 - Child sex scandals roiling the Roman Catholic church spread to Brazil Tuesday after the Vatican said three priests were under investigation following allegations of child abuse.
Cardinal sorry for sex abuse cover-up (ABC News)
Mar 18 - The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has apologised for his role in the cover-up of child abuse by one of the country's most notorious paedophile priests.
Catholic abuse cover-up starts at top (The Australian)
Mar 18 – (Opinion: Christopher Hitchens) ON March 10, the Vatican's chief exorcist, the Reverend Gabriele Amorth (who has held this demanding post for 25 years), was quoted as saying that "the Devil is at work inside the Vatican", and that "when one speaks of `the smoke of Satan' in the holy rooms, it is all true, including these latest stories of violence and pedophilia".
Scandal spurs plea from Pope (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 19 - POPE Benedict, who is facing a growing crisis and international criticism over child abuse scandals, is to write to the Irish people to plead for ''healing and renewal''.
Mar 20 - AUSTRIAN victims of maltreatment or sexual abuse by Catholic clergy are considering a class action against the Church, the daily Der Standard reported.
Pope apologises for sex scandal (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 21 - POPE Benedict XVI addressed Ireland last night in a letter, apologising for the sex abuse scandal that has shaken the country - a message being watched closely by Catholics from Boston to Berlin to see if it also acknowledges decades of Vatican-approved cover-ups.
Victims disappointed by Pope abuse letter (ABC News)
Mar 21 - Irish victims of clerical child sexual abuse are deeply disappointed by Pope Benedict's letter of apology as it fails to address the role of senior church leaders, a group representing victims said.
Catholics rocked as shadows cast on pontiff (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 21 - FOR Father Rupert Frania it seemed the best way. His parishioners in the Bavarian spa town of Bad Tolz had just learnt a terrible secret.
Pope quashes push for celibacy debate (ABC News)
Mar 13 - In the wake of the latest sex abuse claims in the Catholic Church in Germany, a number of senior clergy have called for a debate on the issue of celibacy in the priesthood.
Papal exorcist fights demons like the devil (The Australian)
Mar 15 - "ARE you afraid of the devil?" The world's most famous exorcist levels his gaze at me and then smiles.
Don't be afraid to become priests, says Pope Benedict XVI (Adelaide Now)
Mar 16 - POPE Benedict XVI has urged young people to follow "the call" to the priesthood, as the Catholic Church struggles to shake off the impact of a series of sex abuse scandals.
Pope announces rare British visit (ABC News)
Mar 17 - Pope Benedict is to visit Britain in September, the first official papal trip there and the first of any kind by a pontiff in nearly 30 years.
Mar 8 - Ringtones for the religious are all the rage in Egypt and much of the Middle East
Egypt's top cleric dies (ABC News)
Mar 11 - Egypt's top Muslim cleric, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, has died after suffering a heart attack while on a visit to Saudi Arabia.
Woman expelled from class for wearing veil (ABC News)
Mar 11 - A Muslim woman in Quebec, Canada, has been forced to leave a French-language course for refusing to remove the veil which covers her face.
Walkout at Islamic website (WAToday.com.au)
Mar 18 - THE future of one of the largest Islamic websites in the world is in doubt after hundreds of staff walked out, accusing new managers of trying to hijack the site in order to promote a hardline, conservative agenda.
Mar 9 - Nigerian troops were patrolling villages near the northern city of Jos Tuesday after the massacre of more than 500 Christians there that sparked international shock and outrage.
Also: Nigerian villagers fear more bloodshed (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Mar 10 - FRESH gunfire has sent Christian villagers in Nigeria fleeing as a senior official accused the country's military chiefs of having ignored warnings about last weekend's massacre.
Mar 10 - Irish police have arrested seven people suspected of plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog.
Also: 'JihadJane' charged with planning to kill Swedish victim (The Australian)
Mar 10 - AN American woman known as "JihadJane'' has been charged with recruiting jihadist fighters to plan deadly attacks in Europe and South Asia.
Hundreds of Palestinians riot in Jerusalem (Adelaide Now)
Mar 16 - HUNDREDS of Palestinians have clashed with police in several east Jerusalem neighbourhoods amid heightened religious and political tension in the Holy City.
'Jihad Jane' pleads not guilty in US domestic terror case (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 19 - A blonde American, who dubbed herself Jihad Jane and allegedly tried to use her looks to avoid detection, has pleaded not guilty to recruiting Islamic militants in the latest homegrown terrorism case.
Fulani herdsmen kill 12 Christians in new Nigerian massacre (The Australian)
Mar 18 - MUSLIM herdsmen disguised as soldiers last night butchered and then torched about a dozen Christians in Nigeria, near the site of a recent sectarian massacre, officials and witnesses said.
Couple held over 'child sacrifice' deaths: reports (Adelaide Now)
Mar 19 - A MARRIED couple in rural western India have been arrested for allegedly killing five young boys because a religious mystic told them it would help the woman conceive.
Lutheran pastor killed brother with axe in fight over grass, court told (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Mar 19 - A CHURCH pastor in Papua New Guinea has been sentenced to 16 years jail for killing his brother with an axe during a fight over kunai grass.
Faith not enough for kids' health (The Australian)
Mar 10 - OREGON CITY: A US judge who sentenced a couple to prison for the death of their son says members of their church must stop relying on faith healing when their children's lives are at stake.
New Zealander auctions bottled 'ghosts' (ABC News)
Mar 11 - A New Zealand woman has successfully sold two vials that she said contained the ghosts of an old man and a young girl.
Force wasn't necessary, job centre tells Jedi (Adelaide Now)
Mar 16 - A JEDI believer has won an apology from a UK employment centre which threw him out for refusing to remove his hood.
Irish to vote on lifting blasphemy ban (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 17 - IRELAND is to hold a referendum on removing a blasphemy ban from its constitution.
Also: Ireland to vote on blasphemy ban (ABC News)
Mar 18 - Ireland's justice minister has announced there will be a referendum on whether to maintain the country's controversial law against blasphemy.
Power and the Passion (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 20 – (Travel) As the bells strike 10 o'clock on Maundy Thursday night, the city of Murcia is plunged into total darkness.
Sceptic takes on India's fake fakirs (The Australian)
Mar 20 - NEW DELHI: When a famous tantric guru boasted on television that he could kill another man using only his mystical powers, most viewers gasped in awe or merely nodded unquestioningly.
Greece targets church in massive tax grab (News.com.au)
Mar 20 - GREECE is cracking down on major cash transactions and will impose a high levy on the influential Orthodox church in a scramble to boost tax revenue in the face of a debt crisis.
Call for parts of sharia law in Australia (ABC News)
Mar 8 - A senior Muslim leader is again calling for elements of sharia law to be legally recognised in Australia.
Peace-making sheikh on verge of deportation (ABC News)
Mar 9 - Religious and community leaders in Sydney are rallying behind an Iranian sheikh who will be deported from Australia in a fortnight.
Also: Sheik in last-ditch bid to stay here (The Australian)
Mar 10 - AN Iranian sheik declared a security threat by ASIO will launch a last-ditch appeal to the federal government to prevent his deportation.
Also: Muslim cleric hard to replace (The Australian)
Mar 13 - THE deportation of a prominent Iranian Muslim cleric will leave hundreds of young Muslims without a moral figurehead, an Islamic council has warned.
Also: Sydney Sheikh optimistic about deportation appeal (ABC News)
Mar 16 - The Sydney Shia Muslim cleric facing deportation says he is optimistic he will be allowed to stay in Australia.
Also: One last chance for cleric in ASIO's sights (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 17 - REVEREND Dave Smith recalls the first time he met Mansour Leghaei, the Iranian sheikh who ASIO has branded a national security risk.
Q: What do these MPs have in common? (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 14 - IN RECENT years, to declare yourself an atheist has seemed not just acceptable but even fashionable.
Abbott says beliefs will guide decisions (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 15 - He's renowned for his strong religious views, but Tony Abbott insists those convictions don't unduly influence his political decisions.
Church accused of distorting plans (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 16 - WOOLLAHRA Municipal Council has accused a church organisation of inflating the cost of a controversial development in order to bypass local planning controls and have it declared a major project by the state government, accusations which the organisation strongly denies.
Hodgman wins ticks from Christian lobby for Tasmanian election (The Australian)
Mar 17 - LIBERAL leader Will Hodgman would allow a conscience vote on abortion and consider further restricting the display of pornographic magazines in shops should he become premier on Saturday.
Looking for the real Abbott (The Australian)
Mar 20 – (Opinion: Paul Kelly) TONY Abbott is a phenomenon, a former trainee priest who wears his conservative Catholicism on his sleeve; Abbott is an experiment for our politics, public attitudes and media coverage.
Scientology 'putting lives at risk' (ABC News)
Mar 10 - Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry has thrown his weight behind calls for a Senate inquiry into the Church of Scientology, saying the church's teachings are putting Australians' lives at risk.
Rudd, Abbott 'running scared on Scientology' (ABC News)
Mar 11 - Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has slammed the major parties for blocking his moves for an inquiry into the Church of Scientology.
Scientology insider's nightmare childhood (ABC News)
Mar 12 - A former Scientologist who says she was a "child slave" and alleges she saw a six-year-old boy chained up in a ship's hold is disappointed the Senate has blocked a full inquiry into the religious organisation.
Mar 12 - Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon will address a conference in Brisbane which claims to be the first specifically organised to help people who have left cults.
Xenophon ramps up anti-Scientology crusade (ABC News)
Mar 13 - Crusading Senator Nick Xenophon has continued to pressure the Government to crack down on The Church of Scientology, addressing an anti-cult conference in Brisbane today.
Scientologists forced me to have two abortions, ex-disciple says (The Australian)
Mar 17 - A CANBERRA woman has given a tearful account of how the Church of Scientology allegedly coerced her to have two abortions, as a fresh attempt was being made for a Senate inquiry into the organisation.
Rudd still cold on Scientology probe (ABC News)
Mar 19 - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is still cold on the idea of a Senate probe into the Church of Scientology, but has left the door open for possible support for another kind of inquiry.
Not all grievances are created equal in politics (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 19 – (Opinion: Mark Davis) When allegations emerged that shonky insulation installers operating under the Federal Government's home insulation program had exposed householders to the risk of fires and workers to injury or death, the Liberal and National Parties promptly referred the matter to a Senate inquiry.
Cults should be given nowhere to hide (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 21 – (Opinion: Michael Bachelard) THE recent evidence of the psychological harm caused by religious cults could not be more graphic.
Unhappy lefties tend to be too clever by half (The Australian)
Mar 18 – (Opinion: Oliver Marc Hartwich) RECENT news held an unpleasant surprise for the world's conservatives and religious. Luckily for them, they were probably too dumb to understand it.
Football is fair game for a religious experience (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Mar 21 – (Opinion: Bryan Patterson) PLATO said you could discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. In this nation, there's no better proof of that than observing spectators at the football.
Global Atheist Convention - Melbourne
By their fruit shall ye know them (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 9 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) The jury is coming in on the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne last December: it has produced some good fruit, and may produce more.
Atheist convention's first secular success (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 13 - Even before it opened yesterday, the Global Atheist Convention - claimed as perhaps the biggest-ever atheist convention - had an impact, with the launch of a coalition of atheist groups in universities across Australia.
Dawkins derides sainthood as Pythonesque (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 15 – (Opinion: Jacqueline Maley) THE creation of saints is "pure Monty Python" and the Family First senator Steve Fielding is more stupid than an earthworm, says the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.
Mysterious rituals of the atheists (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 15 – (Opinion: Stephen Bullivant And Lois Lee) Those declaring themselves godless provide a fascinating study for sociologists.
Celebrating life beyond belief (The Australian)
Mar 15 – (Opinion: Miriam Cosic) THEY came from everywhere, the true unbelievers: from Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, New Zealand and beyond.
Atheists’ ridicule won’t win friends and influence people (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 16 – (Opinion: Barney Zwartz) If the meek really do inherit the earth, it won’t be the atheists who turned out in force in Melbourne at the weekend for what organisers believe to be the world’s biggest atheist conference.
Dawkins preaches to the deluded against the divine (The Australian)
Mar 16 – (Opinion: Melanie Phillips) LIKE revivalists from an alternative universe, 2500 hardcore believers in the absence of religion packed into the Global Atheists Convention in Melbourne last weekend to give a hero's welcome to the high priest of belief in unbelief, Richard Dawkins.
Atheism is a broad church (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 17 – (Opinion: Catherine Deveny) WHAT were we going to talk about all weekend? Nothing? Could we scientifically prove the existence of Richard Dawkins?
The atheist delusion (ABC News)
Mar 19 – (Opinion: Phillip Adams) When I was a child I was the only person who didn't believe in God that I knew.
Atheism: the good, the bad and the ugly (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 21 – (Opinion: Michael Coulter) There's more to the meaning of life than proving God does (or doesn't) exist.
Last rites for English at Denistone East Uniting Church (The Australian)
Mar 15 - ENGLISH-SPEAKING parishioners have been forced out of a church whose service is now to be heard solely in Korean.
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