by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
Mar 13 - 20, 2011
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
Pope makes secret checks on clergy (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 14 - A SECRET Vatican document used to research possible bishops almost certainly breaches Australian anti-discrimination laws and seems designed to ensure that only the most conformist candidates can be promoted.
The atrophying Catholic world (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 14 – (Opinion: Dick Gross) A new study by a Catholic ginger group has shown that as a system, Australian Catholicism is teetering on the edge of organisational oblivion.
Cardinal Burke and the fall of the Christian West (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 15 - The American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has given a significant speech to Australian Catholic students, under the title "The Fall of the Christian West" is an emerging leader of the most conservative form of Catholicism.
Mass discontent (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 16 - The Mass lies at the very heart of Catholic identity and a new Vatican-led translation of it has split the church in Australia.
Bunbury cathedral to be unveiled (ABC News)
Mar 17 - Bunbury's new Catholic cathedral will be opened today, almost six years after its predecessor was destroyed by a tornado.
School accused of misusing grant (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 18 - A JEWISH school in St Kilda East is being investigated following a complaint alleging the misuse of a $2 million grant under the federal school building stimulus program.
Two UK clergymen charged in bogus marriages case (The West Australian)
Mar 15 - LONDON (AFP) - Two Church of England clergymen have been charged following a sham marriages probe, the Crown Prosecution Service announced.
Mar 17 - A Tibetan Buddhist monastery in south-western China remains sealed off by police after a young monk set himself on fire and died, triggering protests there, local residents said.
Mar 17 - The Dalai Lama has rejected calls from the Tibetan parliament in exile urging him to reconsider his decision to retire as political head of the movement.
Also: Dalai Lama retirement looms over Tibetan vote (The West Australian)
Mar 18 - NEW DELHI (AFP) - He's little known outside his tiny community but is expected to replace a global icon: 43-year-old Lobsang Sangay faces a daunting task if he wins Sunday's vote for a new Tibetan leader.
Crackdown on monks after self-immolation (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 19 - BEIJING: A Tibetan Buddhist monastery in south-western China has been sealed off by police after a young monk set himself on fire in protest and died.
Britain denies 'anti-Christian' foreign policy (The West Australian)
Mar 15 - LONDON (AFP) - Britain defended its foreign policy on Tuesday after the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland accused the government of pursuing an "anti-Christian" agenda.
Vatican kicks off countdown to JP2 beatification (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 15 - The Vatican on Monday kicked off the countdown to Pope John Paul II's beatification by posting a YouTube video of his famous first papal speech, when the Polish-born pontiff asked the Roman crowd in St. Peter's Square to correct him if he made mistakes in Italian.
Spanish nuns face tax probe after burglar steals their cash stash (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 15 - A convent where large amounts of money were kept in bin liners has raised suspicions.
Vatican hails ruling on crucifixes (Adelaide Now)
Mar 19 - THE Vatican has welcomed a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on displaying crucifixes in schools.
Malaysia reveals 30,000 foreigners caned (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 14 - Malaysia says it has caned nearly 30,000 foreigners since 2005, a revelation that drew condemnation from rights groups who demanded an end to the "barbaric" practice.
Indonesia urged to axe minister for discrimination (The West Australian)
Mar 15 - JAKARTA (AFP) - Human rights activists urged Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday to sack his religious affairs minister and to lift a ban on a minority Islamic group practising in public.
Malaysian Christians hail bid to release Bibles (The West Australian)
Mar 16 - KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian Christians Wednesday hailed the government's release of some 35,000 Bibles seized in a dispute over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.
Iraqi city sees boom as pilgrims arrive (The West Australian)
Mar 17 - The holy Shi'ite city of Najaf in central Iraq, home to the shrine of a revered cleric, is in the midst of a hotel building boom in a bid to dramatically ramp up the number of visiting pilgrims.
Pakistan frees CIA contractor accused of murder (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 17 - A Pakistan court on Wednesday freed CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who was accused of murdering two men in Lahore, after blood money was paid in accordance with sharia law, officials said.
Malaysian radio cuts Gaga gay lyrics (news.com.au)
Mar 17 - MALAYSIAN radio stations concerned that some lyrics in Lady Gaga's gay anthem Born This Way are on the wrong track are refusing to play lines in the song.
Sharp divide in Egyptian vote on constitution (The West Australian)
Mar 19 - CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptians vote on Saturday in a referendum on constitutional changes that are designed to allow free and fair elections but have splintered the reform movement that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Courageous victim of Islamic zealots (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 16 – (Obituary) THE Pakistani minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was unrelenting in his opposition to the country's Islam-based blasphemy laws and the injustices and intolerance they encouraged, was assassinated by a gunman outside his mother's house in Islamabad.
Fears terror cell behind new bomb campaign (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 16 - A suspected terrorist group launched co-ordinated and targeted attacks in Jakarta yesterday, sending two package bombs to a liberal Islamic activist and a leading police officer.
Also: Links between bombs and Bashir (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 16 - The head of the Indonesian government's anti-terrorism unit says there are strong indications that the people behind a number of bombs found in Jakarta could have links to the alleged terrorist, Abu Bakar Bashir.
Also: Fourth bomb found in Jakarta (news.com.au)
Mar 17 - HOME Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has described a string of attempted bombings in Jakarta in the past three days as a worrying trend after police disarmed a fourth device, sent to the home of a recording artist.
Also: Terror group behind Indonesia 'book bombs': official (The West Australian)
Mar 17 - JAKARTA (AFP) - A top Indonesian anti-terror official said Wednesday that regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah was behind a series of "book bombs" in the capital, one of which injured four people.
Also: Indonesia police anticipate more 'book bombs' (The West Australian)
Mar 18 - JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian police said Friday they expect more "book bombs" to be found in the capital, after four of the devices were sent to moderate Muslim figures and a counter-terrorism official.
Police coercing members to quit faith, sect claims (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 19 - JAKARTA: Members of the Ahmadiyah religious sect have been pressured by Indonesian security personnel to abandon the faith amid continual harassment of them, sect leaders say.
30 yrs for airline staff bomb plot (news.com.au)
Mar 19 - A FORMER British Airways computer expert was sentenced to 30 years jail for plotting to blow up a flight.
Two 'die at Mozambique church opening' (The West Australian)
Mar 14 - MAPUTO (AFP) - Two people suffocated to death in a crowd of 10,000 at the weekend opening of a new church building in the Mozambican capital Maputo, state media reported Monday.
Glenn Beck blasted for Japan quake comments (ABC News)
Mar 16 - US celebrities and media have blasted right-wing radio host and television presenter Glenn Beck for calling the quake that rocked Japan last week a message from God.
Greece blocks sale of disputed icons in Britain, Netherlands (The West Australian)
Mar 16 - ATHENS (AFP) - Greek officials have blocked the sale of a dozen religious icons by two art galleries in Britain and the Netherlands after finding the items had been stolen years ago, a police source said on Wednesday.
Katy Perry's mother writes tell-all (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 17 - Katy Perry's mother will expose family secrets in a new book. The I Kissed a Girl singer's parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, are Christian evangelists and ensured their daughter had a strict religious upbringing.
Poo paper proves divine piece of luck (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 19 - JAIPUR, India: A thousand-kilometre journey begins with a single step. Sometimes that step leaves a little something on your shoe.
Decades of war are taking their toll on America's most sacred cemetery. (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 19 - WITH the burial this week of 110-year-old Frank Woodruff Buckles at Arlington National Cemetery, a generation of Americans who fought in the Great War was finally laid to rest.
Domain '.xxx' approved for Web porn sites (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 19 - You've heard of ".com" and ".org." Joining them soon will be their bawdy cousin: ".xxx."
Island conversion (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 19 – (Travel) An English missionary, Thomas Baker, committed the unforgivable and, as it transpired, fatal sin in 1867 of touching a Fijian chief's head, then lost his own over it.
Rooftop tour beyond belief (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 19 – (Travel) 'You don't believe in God?" Senor Rivas asks. "Doesn't matter. But make a wish because the astral quality of Quito is exceptional."
For whom the Bell tolls - no need to worry (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Mar 19 – (Opinion: Bryan Patterson) JUSTIN Bieber and Lady Gaga were recently knocked off the Top Tweets list by a religious discussion. It was Hell. Literally.
Japan's crucible of calamity (The Australian)
Mar 19 - A STRUGGLE between two competing forces -- spirit and demography -- will decide how fast Japan recovers from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, its worst catastrophe since World War II.
Catholic bishops criticise NSW Greens (ABC News)
Mar 18 - A group of Catholic bishops have bought into the New South Wales state election, saying they are gravely concerned about Greens policies.
Disillusioned Muslims take leap of faith (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 19 - It took the NSW Liberals about a nanosecond to announce they would not be directing preferences to the former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson when it was revealed she was running for the NSW upper house a week ago.
Pell row with climate scientist heats up (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 14 - CARDINAL GEORGE PELL has rebuffed the head of the Bureau of Meteorology, who had said Australia's highest-ranking Catholic was ''misled'' in his views on global warming.
Also: Mediaeval mindset, minus the screws (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 19 – (Opinion: Mike Carlton) Cardinal George Pell's… attack this week on the head of the Bureau of Meteorology, Dr Greg Ayers, was extraordinary in its dogmatic ignorance.
Obituary: Dr Patricia Anne Brennan (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Mar 17 - PATRICIA Brennan was a visionary, in both the religious and medical worlds.
Plug is pulled on illuminated cross (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Mar 17 - IT could be lights out for a four-decade-old Warrnambool tradition after one complaint has resulted in an illuminated crucifix being brought down.
Churches win CBD parking levy battle (The West Australian)
Mar 18 - Inner-city churches would be exemptfrom paying a parking levy, the State Government decided yesterday.
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