This is about World Youth Day, something that as a Sydneysider has been hard to ignore recently. I’ll say up front that I’m not religious and certainly not Catholic, but I have nothing against them even though it’s not my thing — I’m certainly no Dawkins/Hitchens-style militant atheist, that’s for sure.
My theory has been that people can do as they please, as long as it doesn’t hurt or hamper anyone else or their lifestyle. In other words, if there’s no harm, people can do their own thing. This is pretty easy to follow — and provides obvious opposition to Church abuse, Islamic fundamentalists and so on.
And while World Youth Day certainly has nothing to do with any truly negative religious behaviour, it is as an event really asking a lot of everyone in Sydney, not just the Catholics it’s being put on for. So much of the city is being shut down, and so many people are being put out, that this is really ceasing to be a case of “doing your own thing”.
The cost is blowing out, the transport options will be an increasing nightmare, and half the CBD is shut down — all for the benefit of a distinct minority in society. I don’t begrudge them their beliefs or their festival, but how far does it get to go before the rest of us can feel annoyed?
As many have said, there’s no way other (minority) religious groups would have got this treatment (especially Jews, Muslims, etc), so you have to wonder about the priorities. And there’s already been heaps said about the civil liberty issues, and the general cost subsidies.
So realistically, have fun “pilgrims” (hate that word now), but the sooner it’s over, the better.