George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney and Australia's leading Roman Catholic official, has said the Church will cooperate with the government's plan to investigate child sex abuse cases, but maintains that the problem is not exclusive to the church nor as widespread as the media makes it seem.
"Sexual abuse is not confined to the Catholic Church. Tragically, it occurs in families, churches, community groups, schools and other organizations," a joint statement by Australia's leading archbishops said.
"While there were significant problems concerning some dioceses and some religious orders, talk of a systemic problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is ill-founded and inconsistent with the facts," the statement added. more >>
Australia has overwhelmingly chosen to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman by voting against a bill that sought to amend the definition to include same-sex couples.
The House of Representatives voted 98-42 against the legislation on Wednesday, although a separate bill on gay marriage was also to be debated in the Senate, The Associated Press reported.
"As Christian leaders representing different denominations or churches, we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage," a statement by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, along with other notable Christian leaders of Australia, said ahead of the vote. more >>
The leader of the Presbyterian Church of Australia has said that Christians are not being discriminatory by wanting to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as the country gets ready to suggest legalizing same-sex marriage.
"We continually are told that the legalization of same-sex marriage would end perceived discrimination against same-sex couples who are currently not able to marry under federal government law," said the Rev. David Jones, as reported by the Herald Sun.
"But at least from the church perspective, opposition to such legalization has nothing to do with discrimination," he continued. "Plain and simply, Christians oppose same-sex marriage because the Bible, the word of the God who created male and female and also created marriage, clearly and distinctly says that marriage is between one man and one woman – which means not between two men or two women." more >>
An Australian Baptist pastor has come under criticism for posting what are being called homophobic messages on his church windows – although he has said he is solely expressing his opinion on what the Bible says of human sexuality.
The Hamilton Baptist church in Australia, where the Rev. Trevor Walmsley preaches, displayed electronic messages on the side of the sanctuary reading "You are here because God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," and another reading "None of us owe our existence to same-sex sexual relationships".
A number of local residents who read the messages were "outraged," News.com.au reported, but Walmsley was quick to explain that the signs represent his views, and not necessarily those of the church. more >>
Evangelist Louie Giglio, speaking during the last day of the Hillsong Conference in Sydney Friday, shared about how he was lifted by God's grace from a more than two-month struggle with the physical and emotional symptoms of stress and depression.
"Almost four years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt like I was dying. I literally thought, 'this is it, my heart is going to blow open and I am going to die right here, right now,'" Giglio said before thousands of people at Allphones Arena and an online audience. "I could not breathe."
For a long time, doctors were unable to properly diagnose the problem, the founder of the highly successful, youth-orientated Passion Conferences said. more >>
Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick preached at a Hillsong Conference in Sydney for the first time on Tuesday, telling thousands of people in attendance and an online audience that God doesn't need anyone to "feel ready" to answer their calling.
"Abraham wasn't ready. Moses wasn't ready … The disciples were never ready and they never got it. Even when they got it they still didn't get it … each time they were ready they started to doubt because their faith was in their readiness," said Furtick, referring to people and stories in the Bible that included reluctant participants in God's plans.
"I certainly wasn't ready when I was 16 years old and God saved me." more >>