Author and campaigner Leslie Cannold has called on atheists, humanists and religious people who believe in the secular state to unite and kick religious education volunteers and chaplains out of public schools. The campaign should be modelled on the push to decriminalise abortion in Victoria, she said, which involved a coalition of dozens of different groups working together. Accepting the Australian Humanist of the Year award last night, Dr Cannold urged her audience to organise and fight back against religious fundamentalists who take advantage of Australia's acceptance of religious freedom to push their ''violently intolerant ideologies''.
Queensland school chaplains are stepping up fundraising efforts to ensure students have access to their services regardless of the outcome of a High Court challenge to cut the National School Chaplaincy Program. Gold Coast chaplains will walk 30km from one end of the coast to the other, in an effort to raise much needed funds and they have enlisted a high-profile State Member of Parliament to help. In an exclusive interview with Christian Today Australia, Christine Smith, Member for Burleigh and veteran member of the Queensland Parliament said she threw her support behind the project after meeting with students in her local schools.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered in Rome last night to watch Pope Benedict XVI confer near-sainthood status on his predecessor John Paul II. Many thousands more watched the ritual around the world, including on giant TV screens outside St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. Cardinal George Pell, head of the Catholic Church in Australia, blessed a statue of John Paul earlier in the day. The blessing was attended by more than a hundred faithful onlookers.
The Catholic Bishop of Toowoomba, William Morris, has been effectively sacked by Pope Benedict XVI over doctrinal disobedience for his support for ordaining women priests and other liberal reform. In a highly unusual move, Bishop Morris complained in a letter to his followers that he was leaving unwillingly and claimed he had been denied natural justice. The developments have led to an incipient revolt among at least some sections of the church.
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February 18, 2020
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