Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

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Chainer
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Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Chainer » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:12 pm UTC

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/ar ... fcf6c4.5a1

Spoiler:
MADRID — Protesters take to Madrid's streets Wednesday to decry the expense of a rock festival-style, million-strong youth party for Pope Benedict XVI at a time of economic crisis.

On the eve of the 84-year-old pontiff's arrival in the Spanish capital to celebrate lavish World Youth Day events, more than 100 groups opposed to the visit prepared to march Wednesday evening.

The joint protest unites many causes, including groups seeking a change in the Church's attitude to gay rights and those fighting for a clearer separation of Church and state.

There is even a separate plan for a gay and lesbian "kiss-in" once the pope gets here Thursday.

But the outcry that has struck a chord with many -- including some priests -- is over the official 50.5-million-euro ($73-million) price tag, excluding the cost of police and security, of the Madrid celebrations.

The protest groups, some of which argue the real cost of the event to taxpayers is more than 100 million euros, are joining under the slogan: "The pope's visit, not with my taxes."

Organisers say most of the cost will be covered by a registration fee from the pilgrims, and the celebration will be a massive tourist boost for Spain.

But for many the celebration is jarring at time when the economy is faltering, the government is making painful cuts and unemployment is at 20.89 percent. For those under 25, the jobless rate is over 45 percent.

"We criticise this scandalous show at a time of such a terribly distressing economic situation, with entire families unemployed," said Evaristo Villar, of Redes Cristianos (Christian Networks).

"This ostentation is causing a lot of damage and distancing a lot of people" from the Church, he said.

Many of those in Spain's 15-M "indignant" movement -- launched on May 15 against the management of the economic crisis -- are also taking part in the protest.

"Just months after visits to Santiago and Barcelona, Mr. Ratzinger -- Benedict XVI to the Catholics -- persistent in his idea of 'reconquering' a country that he sees as veering away from its moral and religious programme, returns to Madrid," the protesters said in a statement to be read out at the rally.

It appealed to all citizens, "regardless of their personal convictions," to stop authorities from granting the Church "privileges that belong to past eras and an undemocratic heritage."

Spanish gays and lesbians say they will hold a separate protest "kiss-in" after the pope's arrival Thursday.

The kiss-in, being organised on Facebook, is to protest against the Church's "moral condemnations of sexuality," said Jaime del Val, a spokesman for one of the gay groups involved, Asamblea Transmaricabollo de Sol.

When the pope last visited Spain in November last year, he was confronted by a homosexual kiss-in in Barcelona.

About 200 gay men and women couples locked lips to demand the Church recognise their right to be gay as he paraded through Barcelona's streets November 7 in his transparent "Popemobile".

For the August 16-21 Catholic celebrations, traffic has been barred in much of central Madrid and a huge white stage has been erected for events in the emblematic Cibeles Square.

Huge speakers blare out pop music through the day as hundreds of thousands of fans in floppy hats swelter in the August heat.

The Church has opened 200 white confessionals in the form of boat sails along the main thoroughfare through Madrid's Retiro park.

The pope will hold a "Prayer Vigil" on Saturday evening at an airbase southwest of the capital, where the pilgrims will spend the night on an esplanade the size of 48 football pitches.

Benedict celebrates mass there on Sunday morning at a white altar almost 200 metres (660 feet) long in front of a wave-shaped stage and under a giant parasol "tree", made of interwoven golden rods.

A secular protest group, Europea Laica, said it hoped several thousand protesters would join the march.

"It is in defence of the construction of a secular state, the separation of the Church and state, and against the financing of the Churches by the state," said Europa Laica president Francisco Delgado.

One Roman Catholic group called Hazte Oir (Make Yourself Heard), called on the authorities to ban the protest march, with a petition describing it as "an expression of intolerance and religious hatred".


Why would they host such a thing, with taxpayer money, no less? Especially under current economic conditions? Unemployment is at 20.89% in Spain (according to the article), and this is what they're wasting taxpayer money on? Really?

An official papal visit is one thing, but no need to make it a $73 million extravaganza.

Good for the protesters mentioned in the article; hopefully they'll help prevent something like this from happening again.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby broken_escalator » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:17 pm UTC

I just have to say that a kiss-in sounds like my kind of protest.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby JudeMorrigan » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:21 pm UTC

Chainer wrote:Why would they host such a thing, with taxpayer money, no less? Especially under current economic conditions? Unemployment is at 20.89% in Spain (according to the article), and this is what they're wasting taxpayer money on? Really?

Tourism, one would imagine. This will bring a hell of a lot (haha) of people to Madrid. It's sort of like hosting a sporting event, albeit with icky overtones for some.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby natraj » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:31 pm UTC

It's an event that happens every couple years in different locations, and it isn't actually paid for with taxpayer money except insofar as any major event taking place in a city will incur high costs to the city. Saying that it is paid for with taxpayer money is a rather misleading way of phrasing it, though. The event itself is financed by the people attending it as well as donations from those who want to support it, but having hundreds of thousands of visitors is always going to incur infrastructure costs to a city hosting a giant gathering.
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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Chen » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:40 pm UTC

natraj wrote:It's an event that happens every couple years in different locations, and it isn't actually paid for with taxpayer money except insofar as any major event taking place in a city will incur high costs to the city. Saying that it is paid for with taxpayer money is a rather misleading way of phrasing it, though. The event itself is financed by the people attending it as well as donations from those who want to support it, but having hundreds of thousands of visitors is always going to incur infrastructure costs to a city hosting a giant gathering.


Yeah I want to know where people are getting there numbers from. The 50 million euro cost seems in line with the cost of the event itself which is paid for by the participants and other private companies. Tax payer money may be used as stated for support the gathering itself but I can't imagine that won't be made up for by the increased tourist revenue.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Dark567 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:44 pm UTC

Well apparently if you attend your forgiven for all your abortions.

$73 millions seems a pretty paltry amount compared to eternity in hell.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Weeks » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:07 pm UTC

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Rodion Raskolnikov » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:14 pm UTC

I'd imagine an event this size would create a fair number of jobs, albeit temporary jobs.

Spoilered for off-topic

Spoiler:
I went to one of these World Youth Events in Rome in 2000. Worst ten days of my life. I thought I was getting a cheap holiday to Rome, but they made us go to Mass EVERY DAY. The temperature was above 40C every day, which Scottish people are not built to handle. I slept on a stone floor in the priest's college because there was only one bed in each room, but four people. And we were given a small square of Melba toast for breakfast.

Our group didn't even go to the big final Mass with the Pope. The other Scottish group went to the field a day before to get a good spot (with several hundred thousand people going to one Mass in a field, it gets crowded). By the next day about half of them had been taken to hospital with dehydration and heat stroke, so thankfully our group leader decided not to take us.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Bearboy » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:58 am UTC

I lived through the Sydney one, I even got a job as a first aider on the major night event($200 for handling out hot drinks to idiots who think Australia is a desert)

I remember it was considered a massive boost to the economy cause evethe majority had to fly in, and cause of the distant heaps stayed for weeks afterwoods, sometihng like twice annual long term tourist visas, triple in tourist income and a massive increase in brothel use and alcohol sales (Oh yes those Catholics and thier piousness).

My school rented out it's hall, gym and food tech block for living areas(it was during a school break) and the school got new kitchen equipment, new showerrooms for the gym and heating and Air conditioning in various rooms along with a big chunk of money.

While this wasn't in such bad economic conditions apart from the catholic thing it was a great boost to everything in Australia, although i'm sure less tourism will occour in spain cause more of the pilgrims will be European and already been there before.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby JudeMorrigan » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:51 pm UTC

Bearboy wrote:I remember it was considered a massive boost to the economy cause evethe majority had to fly in, and cause of the distant heaps stayed for weeks afterwoods, sometihng like twice annual long term tourist visas, triple in tourist income and a massive increase in brothel use and alcohol sales (Oh yes those Catholics and thier piousness).

Hey, now, the alchohol at least is actually considered perfectly ok by the Church. There's an old joke here in the States, "What's the difference between Baptists and Catholics? Catholics say hello when they run into each other at the liquor store."

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby LtNOWIS » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:42 pm UTC

Bearboy wrote:While this wasn't in such bad economic conditions apart from the catholic thing it was a great boost to everything in Australia, although i'm sure less tourism will occour in spain cause more of the pilgrims will be European and already been there before.

Well, maybe. Not all Europeans have been to all European countries, not by a long shot. And the travel situation will be much easier.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Rodion Raskolnikov » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:Well, maybe. Not all Europeans have been to all European countries, not by a long shot. And the travel situation will be much easier.


I think Bearboy was meaning most visitors won't stay on after the Youth Day to see the country in the same way people did in Australia. Spain is one of the most popular tourist countries in Europe, especially for the British and the Germans. A lot of the European visitors will have been before, or will at least see it as an achievable future destination. Whereas when European Catholics went to the Australian Youth, many of them probably thought it was the one and only time they would go there so decided to stay for a week, a fortnight, a month afterwards to make the most of it.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby LtNOWIS » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:08 pm UTC

Ah, that makes more sense.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Vaniver » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:30 pm UTC

Where the hell can you buy a million popes for 73 bucks?
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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Diadem » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:13 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
natraj wrote:It's an event that happens every couple years in different locations, and it isn't actually paid for with taxpayer money except insofar as any major event taking place in a city will incur high costs to the city. Saying that it is paid for with taxpayer money is a rather misleading way of phrasing it, though. The event itself is financed by the people attending it as well as donations from those who want to support it, but having hundreds of thousands of visitors is always going to incur infrastructure costs to a city hosting a giant gathering.


Yeah I want to know where people are getting there numbers from. The 50 million euro cost seems in line with the cost of the event itself which is paid for by the participants and other private companies. Tax payer money may be used as stated for support the gathering itself but I can't imagine that won't be made up for by the increased tourist revenue.

I don't have an English source, but the Dutch newspaper here (a generally reliable one) wrote: "The Spanish government is investing €50 to €60 million in the event, excluding security". So I think the figure really is governement cost.
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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Ptolom » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:14 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Where the hell can you buy a million popes for 73 bucks?

You can buy a million pope hats for 73 bucks, if you make them by origami and old newspapers.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby iChef » Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:39 am UTC

I heard a report on the BBC about this event. They reported the only thing the government was paying for was increased event security. The vast majority of the cost is being paid for by attendees, donations or the Church itself. I couldn't find anywhere in any source that stated the Spanish government was spending any extra money they wouldn't spend for a large gathering such as a rock concert or a gay pride parade. There were sources that stated the total cost and hinted it was costing taxpayers but never stated where this money was getting spent (especially if they are not counting police, which is the only real expense I saw listed in most reliable articles). Does the Pope charge a $73 million euro fee just to leave the Vatican? Maybe the Popemoblie is just really really bad on gas. I suppose somebody could try to make an argument about lost productivity from crowding and shutting down streets, but that is no different than any other major event.
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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby buddy431 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:47 pm UTC

Gellert1984 wrote:Also, bomb president CIA al qaeda JFK twin towers jupiter moon martians [s]emtex.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Lucrece » Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:22 am UTC

No, a sign from God would've been to strike him off with lightning and have all the cardinals/bishops have a heart attack while they're fucking their trick.

The Catholic faith would be made much better by a trimming of priests and greater nun presence in church politics.
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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:40 am UTC

Or, letting Priests and Nuns marry, like they used to in the old days before the Church decided it wanted to inherit more property? Might get a few more religious leaders instead of the occasional repressed homosexual.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Lucrece » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:16 am UTC

I assure you the nuns want jackshit to do with most priests lol. All the nuns I know find priests to be cynical egomaniacs that are worried more with controlling flocks than actually doing the social justice work supposed to be iconic of Christianity.

The issue with the church is much deeper. It can't change because the hierarchy is well designed to extinguish dissent. As a lowly priest you take up studies that in any other institution would grant you a marketable degree, but which from a seminar you get zero marketable degrees. Then your work experienced is confined for years/decades to your parishes, which is not attractive in the slightest to most employers in other industries.

Housing and financial sustenance come from the church. The church/room you've been in for years and worked on can vanish at the hierarchy's whim. It is convenient to keep priests from marrying because then you don't have to pay for spousal/family insurance, and you can move the priest around wherever the church needs him with little ties and no financial cost of moving an entire family (schooling figures into this).

So what happens when you flout the hierarchy? You're out of a house and any financial means to sustain youself. If you've dedicated your life to the church for decades, you may be a 40-50 year old with little hope of getting help to go back to school, and you have no money for housing/basic needs. You will starve to death/go homeless unless a) your parish is sympatheticc and charitable toward you, b)you go into a successful public speaking career, c) you make arrangements to move to another accepting church and they decide to take you in.

A former priest who is now an openly gay men always comments how he knows of men who want to come out but will die in the closet because by now they're 40-50 years old and coming out would doom them to a life with no financial/health support whatsoever. The parish and relationships in the priesthood would all vanish.

There was a priest in Boston who had wanted to make a Mass for Tolerance, in which he was going to address LGBT bullying and acceptance to a fairly large flock. Rumors spread and the hierarchy sent a superior to "visit". So the day of his sermon the "tolerance" bit was vague and sanitized of any mention of LGBT support.
Last edited by Lucrece on Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:28 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:17 am UTC

I didn't mean each other.

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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Vaniver » Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:48 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Or, letting Priests and Nuns marry, like they used to in the old days before the Church decided it wanted to inherit more property?
It's not so much about inheritance of property as it is ensuring meritocracy triumphs over nepotism. Given the church's lifespan, it seems to be a pretty effective strategy.
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Re: Madrid hosts $73 million pope party

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:44 am UTC



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