Back to top

My final (only) word on WYDstock

With WYDstock 2008 happily out of the way for ten days now, time for me to make a few comments, having spent most of the WYDstock Week out of town taking my daughter on school holidays.

Firstly, this was a Northern Hemisphere event transplanted to the Southern Hemisphere. It's summer vacation time for students in the Global North, but in Sydney it's mid-winter. And, school holiday fortnight notwithstanding, not an especially quiet time for the Central Business District in July either.

The Stations of the Cross was a spectacular event, especially for the sight of Jesus staggering across the steps of the Opera House and being crucified at the scene of the infamous Patrick waterfront lockout of 1998. But should it have been a workday in Sydney? After all, we had a public holiday last September for the benefit of mere mortals such as GW Bush, SB Yodhuyono and VI Putin, here as pilgrims for APEC.

More to the point, Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. Why not stage the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday... and, therefore, hold the complete WYDstock during the Holy Week of Easter?

Secondly, was it appropriate for Australia to host a WYDstock when just 25.8% of the population described themselves in the 2006 Cansus as Roman Catholic? And how many of those actually follow the aforementioned deviation of Christian faith?

One wonders how many of the locals, to whom WYDstock had been sold very badly by the Iemma pseudo-government, were won over by Roman Catholicism during the week. And how many were turned off religion (of all creeds) forever.

Thirdly, how could the head of the world's first self-proclaimed carbon neutral sovereign state justify not just the use of his own jet, Shepherd One, to fly to and from Australia, but the aeronautical pilgrimage of more than one hundred thousand Roman Catholic carbon-emitters?

Fourth, and most importantly: Why stop at just the recreation of the Stations of the Cross? I was bitterly disappointed that Pope BXI didn't come to Petersham to perform a re-enactment of the proclamation of the Inter Caetara - the Papal Bull issued by Rodrigo Borgia (Alexander VI to you) on 4 May 1493, in which he divided the ownership of the New World between Spain and Portugal...