by Greg Spearritt
Religion News Australia
Dec 25, 2011 – Jan 8, 2012
Religion news stories from Australia
(Research: Greg Spearritt)
The world as he knew it (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 7 – (Review) Before Galileo, a timid astronomer named Copernicus dared to suggest that the Earth wasn't the centre of the universe.
Prayers and paranoia (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 7 – (Review) JOURNALISTS tend to be hostile towards Scientology, whereas academics tend to be sympathetic, Hugh B. Urban suggests in this calm and balanced study of Scientology's rise in the US.
Father Bob gives final Christmas message (ABC News)
Dec 26 - Outspoken priest Father Bob Maguire has delivered his final Christmas message before he leaves his South Melbourne parish next year.
Also: Final Christmas message from Father Bob one of hope (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 26 - FATHER Bob Maguire is hoping for a late Christmas present this year.
Also: Vatican intervention Father Bob's last hope (The Australian)
Dec 26 - WHEN Father Bob Maguire left the altar after his final Christmas service yesterday, tears erupted along the pews.
Faulty system in class of its own (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 31 – (Opinion: Jim McMorrow and Lyndsay Connors) With government funding both public and private schools, new arrangements must be made for fairer results.
School sues Saudi Arabia (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 8 - In what is believed to be the first action of its kind, the Australian International Islamic College has issued a writ in the NSW Supreme Court against the kingdom and an education official, Ahmad Ibn Mohammad Al Saif, claiming fees due under the prestigious King Abdullah program have been outstanding for more than three years.
Dec 27 - THE summer riots in Britain and the financial crisis have broken bonds and abused trust in British society, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in his Christmas Day sermon.
Archbishop lauds youth (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 2 - The Archbishop of Canterbury dedicated his New Year's message to young people, warning they should not be demonised following a wave of rioting across England in 2011.
Cambodia's "second Angkor" stirs to life (The Australian)
Jan 4 - IT'S still entwined in mystery and jungle vines, but one of Cambodia's grandest monuments is slowly awakening after eight centuries of isolated slumber, having attracted a crack archaeological team and a trickle of tourists.
Pope urges peace in Christmas Day message (ABC News)
Dec 26 - Pope Benedict has called for an end to violence in Syria and a resumption of Middle East peace talks on a Christmas Day marred by a bomb blast at a Catholic Church in Nigeria.
Forsake glitz for godliness, urges Pope (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 26 - POPE Benedict XVI hailed Christ's humility, urging the faithful to look beyond the Christmas ''glitter'' and ''enlightened reason'', and issued a powerful message for peace.
Unholy brawl in church disrupts Christmas midnight mass (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Dec 27 - A BRITISH Catholic priest has described how he feared parishioners' lives were in danger when a fight broke out in his church during a Christmas midnight mass.
Vatican opens secret archives (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 28 - AS THE confidential correspondence of popes, princes and potentates, they have been jealously guarded for centuries.
Convert group gets US leader (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 4 - THE Pope has named a married priest and former sportswriter to head the US body that will allow Anglicans to move across to Catholicism while retaining some of their heritage.
Dec 26 - A WOMAN sentenced to death by stoning in Iran for adultery may be hanged instead, a justice official was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.
Swing towards Islamism betrays women's rights (The Australian)
Dec 27 – (Opinion: Ida Lichter) A MASSIVE rally by Egyptian women last week that followed earlier, violent and degrading treatment by security forces, represents only part of the fury and apprehension felt by many women in the region.
Powerful cleric defies Iraqi government (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 28 - A POWERFUL political group led by the anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called for Iraq's parliament to be dissolved and early elections to be held.
Wham! Bam! Drawing on Islam (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 31 - BATINA the Hidden may fight crime and battle evil, but she is no ordinary superhero.
Smalls victory as Saudi Arabia bans men from selling lingerie (The Australian)
Jan 4 - SAUDI Arabia has banned men from selling lingerie, ending decades of awkwardness in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.
Arrests after pig skulls at mosque (Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Jan 4 - FOUR people have been arrested for allegedly leaving pig skulls and pork outside a Malaysian mosque.
Battle over bikinis looms for Egyptian tourism (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 5 - On a barren hill in Sharm el-Sheikh, not far from the famous beach resorts with their bikini-clad patrons, Islamist activist Ahmed Saber ponders the fate of revealing swimwear if his party comes to power.
Egypt Islamists seen winning near two-thirds of seats (The West Australian, Perth)
Jan 8 - CAIRO (Reuters) - The Muslim Brotherhood said Saturday it had won at least 41 percent of the seats in Egypt's lower house of parliament, with Islamists of various stripes occupying almost two thirds of the assembly so far.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with police (The Australian)
Dec 27 - CLASHES have erupted between police and several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews from a town near Jerusalem who are campaigning for men and women to be segregated, an AFP journalist said.
Also: Jewish gender segregation row set to escalate (The Australian)
Dec 28 - CLASHES erupted here between police and several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews who are campaigning for men and women to be segregated.
Also: Arrest for Jewish 'slut' slur on bus (The Australian)
Dec 30 - AN ultra-Orthodox Jewish man was arrested in Jerusalem yesterday for allegedly calling a 19-year-old female soldier a "slut" when she refused to move to the back of a public bus.
Also: Orthodox Jew charged with insulting woman (news.com.au)
Dec 30 - AN orthodox Jew has been charged with sexual harassment after a young Israeli woman soldier was verbally abused for refusing to sit at the back of a bus.
Also: Ultra-Orthodox claim persecution (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 2 - HUNDREDS of ultra-Orthodox Jews, some wearing yellow stars or the uniforms of Holocaust death camp inmates, have demonstrated against what they called media attacks against them over their efforts to segregate the sexes in public.
Fury at ultra-Orthodox Jews after girl abused (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 29 - BEIT SHEMESH: The battle over religious extremism in Israel now has an unexpected public face - that of a blonde, bespectacled eight-year-old girl.
Santorum's waiting in the wings (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 4 - Whoever booked the venues for Rick Santorum's 11th hour whistlestop to Des Moines hadn't figured on ''the surge''.
Also: Santorum rides a divine wave but Romney moves in for the kill (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 6 - Rick Santorum's stunning performance in the first-up vote for the Republican Party's presidential nominee brought vindication for his 100-day campaign slog through Iowa's 99 counties, as well as instant rewards - $US1 million ($A966,000) in donations in a day.
Israelis rally against violence by zealots (ABC News)
Dec 28 - Several thousand Israeli pro-democracy activists protested on Tuesday against violence by religious zealots trying to impose their religious code on a flashpoint town near Jerusalem.
Christian on death row fears poisoning (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 28 - A PAKISTANI Christian on death row after being convicted of blasphemy has described how she has to cook her own meals for fear of being poisoned.
Rival clergymen in Bethlehem church brawl (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 29 - A brawl has erupted between rival clergymen participating in an annual cleaning ritual at the church built at Jesus's traditional birthplace.
Rudd pushes Philippines for help with kidnap case (Brisbane Times)
Dec 30 - THE Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, has intervened in the case of kidnapped adventurer Warren Rodwell, urging his Philippine counterpart to do everything possible to secure his release from Islamist separatists.
Mosque firebombed (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 4 - New York's mayor has expressed outrage after a mosque was hit by a firebomb in an arson spree police are investigating as a hate crime.
Shiites targeted in Baghdad bombing blitz (ABC News)
Jan 6 - More than 70 people have been killed in a series of bombings in Iraq in the second major day of attacks in a fortnight, ramping up fears of an increase in sectarian strife.
101 injuries: relatives torture teen to death for being a 'witch' (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 6 - A 15-year-old boy was tortured and drowned on Christmas Day 2010 by his relatives after they accused him of practising witchcraft, a British court has heard.
Iraq Shi'ite militia says ready to lay down weapons (The West Australian, Perth)
Jan 6 - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The leader of a Shi'ite militia which carried out some of the most prominent attacks on foreigners during the Iraq war, said the group will lay down its weapons and is prepared to join the political process.
Israeli Christian murdered; suspect dressed as Santa (The West Australian, Perth)
Jan 7 - TEL AVIV, Israel (Reuters) - A lay leader of Israel's Christian minority was stabbed to death during an Orthodox Christmas procession by a person dressed as Santa Claus, his church said.
Tibetan dies after setting himself on fire (The West Australian, Perth)
Jan 8 - BEIJING (AFP) - A Tibetan man died after he and another man set themselves on fire in southwestern China, state media said Sunday, taking the total number of similar acts to 14 in the restive region in less than a year.
Explosion rips through church in Nigeria, at least 15 dead (The Australian)
Dec 25 - A Christmas morning explosion at a church outside the Nigerian capital has killed at least 15 people, a source involved in the rescue operation said.
Dec 26 - A series of explosions near churches during Christmas Day services in Nigeria, including one outside the country's capital, have killed dozens of people.
Bombs kill 35 during mass (news.com.au)
Dec 26 - BOMB attacks on churches during Christmas services and a suicide blast have left 35 people dead in Nigeria.
Dozens killed as Nigerian Islamists bomb churches (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 27 - THE United States has promised to help Nigeria find the bombers responsible for a wave of attacks that killed dozens in the oil-rich African nation.
Probe into attacks Pope calls absurd (news.com.au)
Dec 27 - NIGERIA yesterday probed a wave of Christmas Day bomb attacks that killed at least 40 people.
Pope denouces as 'absurd' deadly Nigerian blasts (The Australian)
Dec 27 - THE Pope last night expressed his distress following a deadly wave of bomb attacks, including against churches, in Nigeria and described the violence as absurd.
Religious violence deplorable (The Australian)
Dec 27 – (Opinion: Editorial) THE murderous bomb attacks launched against Christian churches in Nigeria by Islamic Boko Haram jihadists are bad enough on their own.
Two held on Nigeria bombing (Brisbane Times)
Dec 28 - AS NIGERIAN officials announced arrests in connection with the deadly bombing of a church on Christmas Day, US officials and analysts said the violence underscored the increasing ability of a shadowy Islamist insurgency to carry out complex strikes against multiple targets, complicating the fight against it.
Arabic school adds to Nigeria fears (The Australian)
Dec 29 - ATTACKERS have thrown a bomb into an Arabic school in mainly Christian southern Nigeria, wounding six children and an adult, after Christmas attacks sparked fears of sectarian clashes.
Gunmen kill 6 in Nigerian church attack (ABC News)
Jan 6 - Gunmen have opened fire on a church service in Nigeria, killing six people and wounding 10 in the latest attacks that have raised fears of sectarian conflict in Africa's most populous nation.
Curfew imposed as death toll rises (news.com.au)
Jan 8 - A NIGERIAN state where attacks on Christians left about 30 people dead has been put under round-the-clock curfew.
Nigerian troops clash with Islamists (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Jan 8 - HUNDREDS of people have fled their homes in northeast Nigeria after deadly all-night gun battles between Islamists and security forces amid an escalation in violence.
Nigeria killings called "ethnic, religious cleansing" (The West Australian, Perth)
Jan 8 - ABUJA (AFP) - The head of Nigeria's Christians said Saturday the killing of dozens of faithful in attacks blamed on Islamists suggested "ethnic and religious cleansing" reminiscent of the start of the 1960s civil war.
Facebook, Google get gagging order (news.com.au)
Dec 25 - AN INDIAN court has ordered Facebook, Google and Yahoo! to remove all "anti-religious" or "anti-social" content.
Quake forces alfresco prayers (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 26 - CHRISTCHURCH'S faithful attended Christmas Day services outdoors because of the risk of churches collapsing as the city continued to shake with a series of minor tremors.
The end of the world is nigh (Adelaide Now)
Dec 26 – (Opinion: Rex Jory) THAT'S that. We've survived another Christmas Day. But it could be our last.
Iraqi Christians call for peace (news.com.au)
Dec 26 – IRAQ’S dwindling Christian population marked Christmas yesterday with religious leaders calling for peace.
Religious leader charged (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 27 - ATHENS. The abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery, at Greece's Mount Athos, has been placed under house arrest on charges of money laundering and embezzlement in connection with a land swap deal.
The power of faith lights a prisoner's Christmas (The Australian)
Dec 28 – (Opinion: Yulia Tymoshenko) IT has been said that there are no atheists in a foxhole. Here, after my show trial and 4 1/2 months in a cell, I have discovered that there are no atheists in prison, either.
Ice church a labour of love recalling villagers' prayers (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 31 - MUNICH: Residents of the small Bavarian town of Mitterfirmiansreut have built a church out of ice and snow on the same spot where another ice church was constructed 100 years ago by villagers looking for a place to worship.
Girl 'sacrificed to ensure better harvest' (ABC News)
Jan 2 - Police in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh say they have arrested two people who are suspected of sacrificing a child.
A Maya culpa on end of world (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 2 - THE last New Year's Day in human history has come.
Copying and file sharing recognised as a religion in Sweden (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 6 - Can the gospel of file sharing really be recognised as a religion? In Sweden it can.
Nervous Copts celebrate Christmas (news.com.au)
Jan 8 - EGYPT'S Christians have celebrated Christmas amid tight security as Islamists edged ahead in election results.
Battle erupts over Joan of Arc (news.com.au)
Jan 8 - A POLITICAL battle has broken out over saint Joan of Arc as France marked the 600th anniversary of her birth.
No comparison between asylum-seekers and Vietnamese boatpeople (The Australian)
Dec 30 – (Opinion: Hal G.P. Colebatch) THE present wave of asylum-seekers is not to be likened to the Vietnamese boatpeople who arrived in Australia after the fall of Saigon.
Minister seeks public help in identifying mosque's attackers (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 7 - AN ATTACK on a Newcastle mosque has been condemned by the NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Victor Dominello, who yesterday called for co-operation in bringing those responsible to justice.
Also: Mosque attack sparks tolerance calls (Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Jan 7 - THE NSW Government and Jewish community have condemned an attack on a mosque in Newcastle and have issued a call for "community harmony".
Also: Police search for 'drunken cowards' behind attack on mosque (The Australian)
Jan 7 - POLICE have denied two men who attacked a mosque on the outskirts of Newcastle were engaging in a co-ordinated attack, describing them instead as "drunken cowards", who they suspect were from interstate.
Time for blogosphere to exercise discipline (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 28 - Some months ago, Channel Nine's A Current Affair featured a segment on the bid to erect an eruv in St Ives and the public debate that ensued.
Swanning around in the aisles (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane)
Dec 27 - POOR Wayne Swan, you'd think running the country in Julia Gillard's absence would entitle you to a few special privileges, but Swanny showed he's a man of the people on Christmas Eve.
Big moral issues loom in politics (The Australian)
Dec 29 – (Opinion: Kenneth Wiltshire) THE pursuit of life, liberty and human happiness: this goal has defined the American dream and the foundations for the US democratic system of government.
Judge rejects killing of woman, by up to 10 including kids, was religious (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Dec 27 - A NORTHERN territory judge rejected the notion that the brutal death of a woman in a ceremonial fire circle was a religious killing but rather a ''cruel and callous'' form of punishment.
Are we producing decent people? (Adelaide Now)
Dec 28 – (Opinion: Stephen Orr) IT seems that our society isn't asking the big questions anymore
Leave behind the retail maze, zen is just a single path away (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 29 – (Opinion: Elizabeth Farrelly) Labyrinths, for the first time since the 13th century, are big.
Faith in equality a must (The Age, Melbourne)
Jan 2 – (Opinion: Leslie Cannold) Secular authorities need to ensure they win fights with zealots over the rights of women.
The end is not nigh (Perth Now)
Jan 4 – (Opinion: Tory Shepherd) 'TIS the season for many predictions. Here's mine: The world will not end.
Remove cross from Easter buns - priest (Herald-Sun, Melbourne)
Jan 6 - A CATHOLIC priest has called for the removal of the cross from hot cross buns, which despite being traditional Easter fare went on sale in major Australian supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles on Wednesday.
Churchgoers keen to take a pew despite their disbelief (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 7 - IN TERMS of church attendance, Andrew Burnard puts a lot of Australia's Christians to shame.
Street preachers may crash to Blessing of the Waters (Adelaide Now)
Jan 7 - THE annual Blessing of the Waters at Glenelg today is bracing for abusive disruptions by the controversial street preachers group.
Festive joy is totally Orthodox (Sydney Morning Herald)
Jan 8 - IT'S not just children who look forward to Christmas in Monica Mikhail's family.
Spence church fire investigation (ABC News)
Dec 30 - ACT police are investigating a suspicious fire which has caused serious damage to a church in Canberra's north on Thursday morning.
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