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Spanish Priests Join Protest Against Pope’s Costly Visit

Spanish Priests Join Protest Against Pope’s Costly Visit


Next week Pope Benedict is to visit Madrid as part of World Youth Day. But more than 100 priests from some of Spain’s poorest parishes are joining protests about his visit due to the growing cost — an estimated 60 million euros (about $85 million) — at a time when Spain has an unemployment rate of 21 percent. Among those aged 18 – 25, unemployment is 45 percent; huge public sector cuts have added to the country’s woes. Spain’s debt is about 64 percent of its GDP and, despite what its officials say, there are fears that it might need to be bailed out by European financial leaders and the International Monetary Fund just as Greece, Ireland and Portugal have been.

An umbrella group, the Priest’s Forum, says that Spain cannot afford to spend millions of euros for security and other costs surrounding the Pope’s visit. There’s a Facebook page calling for a boycott of World Youth Day sponsors including Coca-Cola, Telefónica and Santander. Among the 140 groups opposing the Pope’s visit is the secular organization Europa Laica:

“Catholics can go wherever they like in Madrid but the freedom of movement of the rest of us is restricted,” said Francisco Delgado, leader of Europa Laica, on discovering that the city had prohibited his group’s proposed march.

Europa Laica plans to march under the slogans “Not a penny of my taxes for the pope” and “For a secular state.”

In the Guardian, a spokesman for Spain’s Indignados movement, which has been organizing huge protests in central Madrid since May 15, says the government has just proposed cutting 40 million euros (about $57 million) from the education budget, so it’s hardly the right time to be spending 60 million euros for the Pope. Just a few days ago, on August 3, thousands of “Indignants” jointed an impromptu protest against the planned Pope’s five-day visit.

As a further slap in the face to residents of Madrid, the 500,000 visiting pilgrims are expected to be allowed free transport. On Monday, metro fares were raised by 50 percent.

According to a recent survey by Spain’s national statistic office, among those aged 18 to 24 the number of Catholics has fallen by 56 percent over the past 10 years so support in Madrid itself for the Pope’s visit will be limited. At a visit in Barcelona last November, Pope Benedict was “poorly received”;  the popemobile was “forced to drive at top speed past small groups of the faithful along mainly deserted streets.”

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4:31AM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

This is abusive down right abusive!!!

9:44AM PST on Feb 14, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

7:51AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

All heads of states do travel at a great cost to the host country all the time.

1:05PM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

Once your church cannot give the funds upstream, it will no longer be a church.

6:15AM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

Have Spain send an itemized bill (COD) to the pope.

6:03PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Chris C. it would prove a lot, it would prove that he cares about people no matter what, it would prove that he is worried about poverty and hunger, it would prove that he cares about something else than his prada shoes, his creepy ideas about marriage, family, condoms and all that, it would prove that he cares about something else than his Vatican Wonderland.
I guess he would say he prays for Somalia but I don't think those starving kids give a damn, they would prefer something to eat.

11:08PM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Well if the pope is the symbol of Catholics and a true believer in God...If God would have big plans for him...why is he needing this protection to the car? Is Christianity afraid that God left them? If they really believe in God they should not put this kind of protection to the car...isn't god the almighty one?...who are they praying to?'s obvious that he's afraid of something

8:09AM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Erasmo, I know a very dedicated Catholic woman who calls the pope exactly the same thing.

2:29AM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Far from a John Paul, he would probably be well advised to stay home or bring his own security.

1:45PM PDT on Aug 10, 2011

HERE WE GO AGAIN! A simple argument against costs being used by all the anti-Catholic and atheist bitter filled people as a chance to rant againts the Church or its leaders. Look closely into pedophilia and you will see it exists everywhere and amongst all types (Police, Congress, etc.) and the Church's percentage was much smaller than any other profession/field. Although shameful, it has brought on positive change. As for any faith, as long as humans lead them they will be imperfect. Don't like the Church, don't join it. Already out? Good, now go to your new religion and shut the heck up.

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