The Time Is Nigh

13 July 2008

Since I started what appeared at first to be a one-woman campaign against the raiding of the public purse to fund World Youth Day, I’ve been asked more than a few times what I’ve got against the Catholic Church.  Well,  this is probably not the place to go into that in any detail but anyway it’s not really relevant. 

My argument isn’t with the church that wants to bring 100,000 or so people to Sydney on some mass recruitment drive.  It’s with the Government who think this is a perfectly acceptable way to use taxpayers’ money. AND has introduced a law which is totally out of line with our civil rights and is utterly sectarian in nature – we can’t annoy them; they can annoy the Hell out of us. (I would point out that I’ve no intention of deliberately annoying a participant.  My argument is not with them)  

There are still no exact figures available, despite the Sydney Morning Herald’s request for budget documents to be released in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.  But better people than me have done what I think will turn out to be pretty accurate guesswork and the figures are stunning.

Some of you outside Australia may not be totally familiar with the demographics here.  The State of New South Wales has a population somewhere in the region of 7 million.  The whole of Australia has a population of about 21 million.

The NSW State Government is spending about $108 million on this.  That is 7 million of us, less the elderly, schoolchildren, babies and the unemployed, are very kindly (and without any consultation) donating $108 million.  AND we’re also contributing, along with the other 14 million residents,  towards the $55 million that the Federal Government is spending.  And for those of you not very good at sums, yes, that totals ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THREE MILLION DOLLARS.

Apparently, the original agreement was that we would put up $20 million.  When WYD was held in Toronto, the city contributed $C13m. 

This isn’t the Olympics.  This is a meeting of people who belong to a particular organisation.  And that organisation is one of the richest in the world.   

I’m a cynic – I admit it.  And I’ve given a lot of thought to what might be in this for the NSW Government.  Well, there are votes, of course.  But Catholics make up only about 25% of the population, according to the latest census.  That probably includes people who were brought up as Catholics and don’t think of ticking another box on the form.  Only 10% of those apparently attend Mass regularly.  

Then there is the fact that the Premier of NSW (Morris Iemma) and a lot of his frontbench are Catholics.  AND the leader of the Opposition and  a lot of his front bench are also Catholics.  Maybe this is just their personal crusade.  Organise WYD, guarantee your place in Heaven.  Last week the Pope announced Plenary Indulgences for all WYD participants.  God is going to grant Morris forgiveness for his sins. 

I’m not.

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  1. Well said Sally. Our household is resounding with cheers of agreement. It’s not about the church, it’s about the state.

  2. We too are resounding.

    Even though I’m one of the unemployed, I’m still apoplectic about this.

  3. Not Australian but lapsed Catholic enough to be horrified. And giving away indulgences?!?! Mother of Mercy, did that not go out with patent leather shoes reflecting your underwear?

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