Cardinal Pell thrilled about Pope’s choice of Sydney for
Cologne, Aug. 22, 2005 (CNA)
- Elated Australians joined their equally
excited Cardinal Sunday, as Pope Benedict XVI
confirmed the much-speculated reports that
Sydney had indeed been chosen as the site for
the 2008 World Youth Day.
The Holy Father made the announcement, according to
the tradition, at the closing Mass for this year’s World
Youth Day celebration in Cologne, Germany--attended by
almost 1 million young Catholics.
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, was
quoted in the Australian saying that only the
“scrooges” would be complaining about the Pope’s
visit--the first papal visit to Australia in 13
years--and called it an “enormous privilege.”
According to the Australian, Cardinal Pell
boasted over what he called “a coherent and
well-prepared bid” which had “tremendous help from the
federal and state governments."
"It's certainly a Catholic celebration”, he added,
“but will be open to anyone, especially young people who
don't have a settled core of religious conviction and
are looking for something to hold on to."
Some 5 million Catholics make their home in
Australia, making Christianity the country’s largest
Because of Sydney’s somewhat difficult location, the
Cardinal said that the 2008 turnout probably wouldn’t be
as large as that in Cologne. "There's an immense
Catholic population in Europe who can get in a car or an
old bus and come along," he said. "The difficulty in
Australia will be the money for the airfares."
Reportedly though, Cardinal Pell has already spoken
to Australian authorities about softening visa
requirements for some visitors. Many Third World
residents were turned away from Cologne because of stiff
"We've spoken to the Australian Government
initially”, he said, “and the starting point is that
visitors will be treated similarly to how visitors to
the Olympic Games were.”
"It's an important matter."
It is also rumored that native Aussie and actor Mel
Gibson will be asked to perform the Stations of the
Cross at the event. Gibson recently produced the
blockbuster “Passion of the Christ” movie.
Some 2500 Australians in Cologne cheered the news
last night excitedly, waving national flags.
The theme for the 2008 World Youth Day is slated as
"take up your cross and follow me", repeating the words
of Jesus in the Gospels when asked how to attain eternal