Wednesday, July 16, 2008

world youth day

The 'pilgrims' have arrived in droves ( over 125,000 of them from overseas) , the Pope is resting at a retreat on the outskirts of Sydney and all is well with the world...or maybe not.

Lawyers in Australia said that police powers introduced by New South Wales parliament for a major gathering of young Roman Catholics later this month will undermine free speech

Under the powers, police will be able to arrest and fine people (up to $5,000 ) for "causing annoyance or inconvenience" to participants in World Youth Day.

This means acts of peaceful protest at the event in Sydney could potentially be deemed a crime.....causing offence now an offence?

But those killjoys at the federal court have spoiled all the fun, by ruling that the special laws brought in by the New South Wales parliament do indeed infringe the right of free speech.

Probably just as well for the Bondi surf school offering 'walk on water' lessons for the visiting pilgrims.

There has been some wonderfully irreverent press coverage:

"Benny and his Jet" was how Sydney's Daily Telegraph described the Papal flight.

Channel 7 has taken to calling the papal retreat on the outskirts of Sydney his "Holy Hideaway".

When the rail unions threatened a transport strike to coincide with World Youth Day, the Sydney Morning Herald came up with "Stations of the Very Cross".

Protests appear to be continuing despite the threat of Draconian censorship. One group, the NoToPope Coalition, says it plans to distribute condoms to highlight its opposition to the Church's stance on contraception, homosexuality and abortion.

Their fashion parade unveiled the T shirts they will be sporting on the day-Slogans like "Pope Go Homo" and "The Pope Is Wrong - Put a Condom On".

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