C-WYD – Letters to the editor

The following is a letter I sent to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper today:

I noted in today’s paper (page 10, SMH, 28 April) a letter to the editor that starts:
“Please feel free to write a letter that does not mention World Youth Day”
I would have to agree with letter writer Max, that if the paper is going to continue publishing C-WYD articles the readers are going to continue writing letters. Especially when the articles include poorly researched, myopic, self aggrandising ones like Anthony McCarthy’s – Benedictions on our fair city; which was on the next page! (page 11, SMH, 28 April).

Here are the links to the original letter and Anthony’s article.

The following is a rebuttal to Anthony’s article, this was also sent to the newspaper, but due to its length I doubt it will be published.

A rebuttal to: Benedictions on our fair city, by Anthony McCarthy – The Sydney Morning Herald; Monday 28 April 2008.

I’ve read some poorly researched, myopic, self aggrandising opinion pieces before, but Anthony’s must rank as one of the worst the Sydney Morning Herald SMH) has published?

Apart from the fact that he thinks the Catholic World Youth Day (C-WYD) is a good thing, and thinks everyone else should think so as well (trust me there are plenty who don’t), his facts are somewhat exaggerated.

Anthony tries in vain to compare the C-WYD to the Sydney Olympics, both in number of attendees and inclusiveness. Firstly the CATHOLIC World Youth day is mainly of interest to Catholics, and even some Catholics see it as a waste of money. Anthony states “WYD is not the Olympic Games but in some ways it is more participatory…” I don’t know how he comes to that conclusion, some evidence would be nice? He also states the vast majority of Olympic visitors were athletes and media personnel. Seeing as there were only 11,000 athletes, but 6 million tickets to venues were sold, I highly doubt his conclusion. The Olympics had participants from 199 countries, the Paralympics had 122 nationalities. How many countries are visiting for the C-WYD Anthony? Whilst I don’t play any sports I can happily watch most of them and I don’t have to be a member of any particular sect to get something out of it. Anthony says everyone is welcome; does that include all the members of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, the Australian Skeptics Society, the Secular Party of Australia or various other non-religious groups who would be happy to point out to your participants the many inconsistencies in the Catholic traditions? I think not.

Anthony states that more than 400,000 people will attend the mass at Randwick and this will be the “largest gathering of people in Australia’s history”. For a start that’s a big call seeing it’s still 80 days away before this event occurs, so his figures are at best an educated guess. Second, in comparison to the Olympics; 400,345 people attended Sydney Olympic Park on day 8 of the 2000 games. Over 5.5 million attended Sydney Olympic Park across the Olympic and Paralympic Games. There were 47,000 volunteers and their ticker-tape parade attracted 100,000, not bad for just a bunch of volunteers (no disparagement to the volunteers). At last count the C-WYD was even struggling to get anywhere near their required number of volunteers. So which event is really the more popular one?

Whilst we are mentioning numbers: 10,000 people were in the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade, with crowds of over 300,000 in 2008. (largest crowd attending a Mardi Gras was estimated at over 500,000 in 1993) Anthony’s hoped for 400,000 is comparable, but as gays are supposed to account for only 4-10% of the population and Catholics are supposed to represent 26-29%, the ratio is lower for the Catholics. I would also like to make an assumption here; number of non-Catholics at C-WYD less than 10%, number of non-gays in audience at Mardi Gras greater than 50% (I have no figures for this assumption apart from some anecdotal evidence, and am happy to be corrected if someone can find correct figures) so which event is more inclusive? And I wonder which event gets the most money from the government?

Whilst C-WYD might be a big deal for Anthony and his many Catholic Youth mates, rest assured it’s not for the majority of the rest of us Australians.

References:

A. Some Olympic and Paralympic Games Achievements http://www.gamesinfo.com.au/ho/ARNW103002.html

B. Socio-Economic Impact of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games http://olympicstudies.uab.es/pdf/od013_eng.pdf

C. Costs, closures turn masses off big event http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/costs-closures-turn-masses-off-big-event/2008/04/27/1208743316571.html

D. Welcome to God’s mosh pit http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/costs-closures-turn-masses-off-big-event/2008/04/27/1208743316571.html

E. Mardi Gras History http://www.mardigras.org.au/internal.cfm?sub=History&nav=About%20us

F. Massive crowds expected for Mardi Gras http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/01/2177016.htm?section=justin

Share this post :

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under atheism, atheist, Catholic, Catholic WYD, world youth day

9 responses to “C-WYD – Letters to the editor

  1. Edie

    Anthony- thou doest clutcheth straws.

    What a monumental waste of time, resource and money is C-WYD.

    Well said Oz!

  2. I know how you feel about memes but this one is about food and I thought that since we share and appreciation for food that your answers would be interesting!

    And beside that you have been being so serious lately…

    Anyway-tag-you’re it!

  3. Carrie

    do you have a specific problem with all religions or just Catholics? Just curious.

  4. AV

    do you have a specific problem with all religions or just Catholics? Just curious.

    Do you have to have a specific problem either with all religions or Catholicism alone in order to be critical of WYD?

    Just curious.

  5. Carrie
    short answer: all religions

    longer answer: Obviously I have been critical of WYD because it is a particularly Catholic event. The Catholic: ‘infallibility of the Pope’, extreme riches, guilt ridden dogmas, abuse of authority, amongst other things, does put them higher up the list than some other religions.

  6. They didn’t print my letter, but they printed this one instead:

    Priorities are all wrong

    How ironic that on the opinion page (April 28 ) we find an article saying public funds being spent on World Youth Day will be well worth it because it will be such a wonderful event and will boost the economy, and, right next to this, an article deploring the State Government’s cutting of funding for State Records NSW, the State Library, the Powerhouse and Australian museums and the Historic Houses Trust. It’s a matter of budget priorities, and the Government has got it wrong.

    Neil xxxxx

    I totally agree

  7. It’s hard to believe that both the Iemma and Rudd government’s are throwing so much money away to ensure this event happens.
    Last time I looked at the cost figures (inclusive of compensation etc;) and projected financial returns to NSW, it seems the state will be lucky to come out to come out 1/2 million ahead.
    Is it really worth the trouble?

  8. WaterDragon
    Is it really worth the trouble?
    You know I don’t think so, unfortunately lots of Catholics and their supporters do. I wonder of Iemma thinks he’s buying a ticket to heaven? 😆

  9. Pingback: Government funds Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras « Oz Atheist’s Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s