World Youth Day ’08

When I was with the Jehovah’s Witnesses there was one thing that I did envy about the Catholics. Despite the constant photos of Cardinals doing Nazi salutes and comments from them praising the persecution of the American religion under the Third Reich in many an Awake! and Watchtower article there was one thing that you cannot take away from them – they know how to throw a party.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell

The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell

So to Sydney where World Youth Day commences now with Cardinal Pell doing mass. I would hope at least one soul there may ask the Cardinal why he did not take prompt action against Father Godall when allegations of sexual assault first emerged, and dismissed one allegation saying he had heard none other before when documents unearthed suggest he had.

One person attending the event made the comment:

“I understand most of the Catholic Church teachings are anti-cultural now,” said Chris.

“But we’re looking to change the culture, to make it more pro-life, pro-Catholicism, pro-Jesus.”

Perhaps the biggest culture change that is needed is safeguards in place to protect children from harm, and an openness about issues from the past – that justice is important, and any hint of a cover up is to be avoided at all costs. In any organisation with access to children this is important and necessary. The shock is not so much that these things happen but that the church did not take swift action against the culprits, but actually protected priests while suffer the little children. The moral hazard is obvious and the idea that a “moral figure” is beyond such notions should not be tolerated based on the evidence.

I hope that someone discusses that in the forums taking place in Sydney – it would seem a rather pressing youth issue for the Catholic community. Then sex education and empowerment of women. Perhaps the culture change needs to come from within.


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