The dust has settled. The pilgrims have returned from whence they came. The Pope has left the building. And Australia can go back to being one of the least religious countries on the planet once again. Or can we? For just as I assume is the case with every other Australian, World Youth Day (WYD) 08 has left an indelible mark on me. So,in keeping with the Catholic Church’s love of all things seven, you know Seventh Heaven, Seven Deadly Sins, the Pope apologising to seven abuse victims - okay that was only four - but you know, I thought I’d help him along a little.
Six days of love and Jesus, and this is what it all boils down to for me. There are seven things I learned from WYD and my life is oh-so-richer for it.
Priests are sexy. That’s right. I’m not sure how many are aware of this but for the past three years the Vatican has put out a calendar of its hottest, youngest and most succulently smouldering clergy. Obviously the Church has either not realised that it is the sexuality of its priests that has landed it into such hot water of late, or it doesn’t much care.
But never mind that. The Calendario Ramano 2008, is a sort of “best of” from the last three years and is sure to get all hot blooded women - and more than a few men - a little hot under the collar.
And it’s not cheap to be a pilgrim. I mean, apart from the cost of travelling from all four corners of the globe, every registered pilgrim then had to cough up $335 for a full week’s registration before they were able to express their love and faith in Jesus. Render unto Caesar the things that are Casers, render unto God the things that are Gods. And, render everything else you have to the organiser’s of World Youth Day.
I don’t mean to be cynical but surely, the Church didn’t really need this extra spot of cash did it?
And did you know young Catholics use contraception! This was, by far, the best bit of news to come out of WYD for me. According to ABC radio, there were numerous reports of young pilgrims sharing their faith and ahem, love for each other, and making good use of the free condoms handed to them by the “No to Pope” coalition protestors.
First, I’m glad to hear of young Catholics trying before they go a-buying. I mean, come on, you are only young once: live a little, be a little naughty, what’s the worst that can happen? An eternity of being burned to a cinder by the God that loves you so very much?
Second, I am also gratified to hear they are ignoring the Pope’s no contraception message, and actually being careful and responsible. Every sperm is not sacred it seems. It warms my heart, it really does.
My German housemates - who were fortunate enough to be present at the last WYD in Cologne - reported that the aftermath of the event saw the parks littered with used condoms and a mad, mass rush to the pharmacy for the morning after pill. It really is just like Schoolies Week for the spiritual.
Also, global warming is a myth. That’s right. Cardinal George Pell said so. Actually, the words of the Sydney Archbishop were more along the lines of there is not enough evidence pointing to man-made climate change. "I'm a bit of a sceptic about the claim that human activity is likely to produce a man-made catastrophe … I'm well aware that over the years, there have been great changes in the climate."
I am going to repeat that for you all, lest you should have missed the delicious irony contained within. Cardinal George Pell, a practising Catholic, who believes in the existence and intervention of a Supreme Being; who believes that Jesus was conceived despite the fact his mother had never had sex; that this same virgin never died but ascended to Heaven in physical form; that Jesus rose from the dead; that saints perform miracles; who believes all of these stories, cites lack of evidence for anthropogenic global warming.
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