Brace yourself Sydney-siders. An almighty 225,000 people are converging on our sacred city for World Youth Day from 15 - 20 July. Yikes! The federal government is giving $22 million of our taxes for a papal mass at Randwick Racecourse. Now don't get me wrong. I think it's great that a bunch of young people are toting crucifixes and religious icons around the country and treating the Pope as if he's Bono but . .there is a price to pay. The only problem is that we non religious residents are sacrificing our fair city and there are the detractors.
World Youth Day organisers have intervened to stop a Jesuit Catholic group holding a forum about homosexuality as part of the week's official festivities. Jesuit group MAGiS, offered to include the forum in its festival but was contacted by the World Youth Day organisers and instructed to withdraw support. Gay Catholic group 'Acceptance' has been struggling since the very start to put on the event. This was meant to be a forum gathering parents, young people and priests to talk about spirituality, sexuality and the conflict that can exist between the two. Surely a healthy debate? What would Jesus say?
Fortunately, the forum will still go ahead at the University of Technology, Sydney, without any church support.
And that’s not all . .I know you want more . . .
Sydneysiders who do not wish to attend the event are being asked to get outta town. Access to certain roads and popular hotspots including Centennial Park, la coathanger and the ol Oprey will be restricted so don’t bother taking the kids into south eastern Sydney for a day out during school holidays!
But there’s more . . .
New powers have been granted to police to enable the arrest of those causing an ‘annoyance’ WTF The powers allow police to stop and conduct searches of people they believe are causing an annoyance or inconvenience to World Youth Day pilgrims during the event later this month.
Offenders could face a fine of $5,5000 if they are considered to be annoying or causing inconvenience which apparently amounts to wearing anti papal T shirts, or handing out condoms.Who's gonna hassle the pope. Hey he has fantastic fashion sense, wears a decent red hat on occasion and is holding mass at Randwick Race Course - Aussies have gotta love a mass at a gambling arena surely? So who is likely to cause annoyance or inconvenience . . . Well the gay lobby of course (known for their violent intervention) will want to lobby the right to marry! Heaven's above that's going to be a blood bath. Then there's those encouraging contraception for the godzillions of faithful living in the favellas or transmitting AIDS in the Transvaal. Yep I can see them being a danger to society . .well slap me on the face with a limp rubber and call me Susan! Maybe the odd athiest - nah, they'll just go to the Gold Coast for the weekend of debauchery or perhaps the occasional historian who remembers that the Church of England was established so that ol Henry VIII could screw a woman who's head would later roll along the red carpet?
Actually all the bruhaha is about the extension of regulations that already exist for sporting events. If you're a Rabbitohs supporter and plonk yourself amid the Eels, then that might be considered a tad contentious. If you then start slagging the team, the old Bill will grab you by the scruff and tell you to go and sit with your own side. The regulations that exist at all sporting events have just been expanded to cover: schools where pilgrims are staying, public areas, well known landmarks bla bla.
Storm in a tea cup if you ask me. If 300,000 y0ung people want to watch Mr Ratzingerand in his silly bread van and attend Mass at the bastion of the sport of kings . . .then let it be so! However! Next time the U2 visit Australia I expect the same level of security!