Thank fck for the NoToPope Coalition! The alliance organised protests against World Youth Day 2008 and exposed the hyperbole of Benedict XVI’s Sydney ChristFest.
World Youth Day fans consisted mainly of misguided youth, cynical political operatives and eternally optimistic tourism officials. Ah, the madness of crowds!
Odds & Sods: snippets of queercentric news coverage from Australian media in years gone by.
World Youth Day
World Youth Day 2008 took place in Sydney from 15 to 20 July, 2008. Five days actually, not one. Bit of a worry. Catholics supposedly rely on counting days for birth control. 😕
Politicians, tourism officials and Archbishop George Pell predicted a tourism bonanza. Of course, once governments committed taxpayer dollars to the event, they revised projected attendance figures downwards.
But about 300,000 did attend. God knows how Benedict XVI solicited them. Despite expensive drag, the Holy Father lacked charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Perhaps a pact with the devil? 😈
Or with politicians. The exuberant NSW Lib/Nat government kicked in $129 million. Federally, the Rudd government pandered to Catholic voters to the tune of $55 million. 🤑
Because supporting the Catholic Church seemed like such a good idea!
You know. The holier-than-thou patriarchy responsible for more child sex abuse than any other organisation!
A patriarchy then under the authority of Benedict XVI, a pontiff seemingly more troubled by homosexuality than child abuse. A few years before, Ratzinger (Benedict’s birthname) wrote to his bishops warning them that being gay was an ‘intrinsic moral evil’.
Yeah! While millions died from HIV because of the Catholic Church’s ban on condom use.
When groups opposed to World Youth Day announced plans to protest, the NSW government introduced draconian laws including a $5,500 fine for causing ‘annoyance or inconvenience to participants in a World Youth Day event’.
There ended the plan to erect a giant banner referencing the evil Pied Pipers of the church.
‘CATHOLICISM; TOUCHING YOUTH FOR AS LONG AS WE CAN REMEMBER.’
However, the NoToPope coalition appealed to the Federal Court of Australia. The court ruled that George Pell’s lackeys had exceeded their authority.
That decision enabled NoToPope protests on the final day of World Youth Day. NoToPopers offered Benedict XVI’s pilgrims condoms prompting the only arrest of the day when one Christ-fearing Catholic lad took offence — and a swing at a protestor. Onward, Christian soldiers… 🎶
A same-sex kiss-in brought the protest to a happy ending.
The mainstream press pretty much ignored the NoToPope coalition. However, the University of NSW student newspaper Tharunka covered the protest movement. Read more in Tharunka at Trove, the invaluable online library database destined for the trash heap under the Morrison misgovernment but recently saved by a funding commitment from the Albanese government.
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