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world youth day 2011

Madrid: violent protests against the cost of Pope’s visit.


[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]A thunderstorm has forced Pope Benedict XVI to cut short his yesterday  speech during a prayer vigil at the Catholic Church of World Youth Day 2011 festival in Madrid, Spain.


More than 1.5 million young pilgrims gathered at the church of World Youth Day 2011 festival on Saturday to be in place for the vigil when a flash, blustery downpour drenched the crowd and forced Pope Benedict XVI to suspend his speech. During the day, before the procession, firefighters atop fire trucks had sprayed the crowds with water from hoses, and pilgrims sought shade from umbrellas, trees, tarps and tents in a bid to stave off the near 40 degrees Celsius (about 104 Fahrenheit) heat.

Once the rains stopped, about a half hour later, Pope Benedict XVI merely delivered brief greetings in a half-dozen languages, skipping the bulk of his World Youth Day speech.

A thunderstorm has forced Pope Benedict XVI to cut short his yesterday speech during a prayer vigil at the Catholic Church of World Youth Day 2011 festival in Madrid. (

A thunderstorm has forced Pope Benedict XVI to cut short his yesterday speech during a prayer vigil at the Catholic Church of World Youth Day 2011 festival in Madrid. (Getty Image)

Despite the discomfort, the scene at the Cuatro Vientos airport was nevertheless festive and colorful, with pilgrims in a rainbow of sunhats dancing, singing and waving their national flags as they geared up for a massive sleepover ahead of Sunday’s main World Youth Day Mass.

The crowd erupted in cheers when Pope Benedict XVI arrived at nightfall, greeted by Spain’s crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia. But he couldn’t proceed with his speech because of the thunderstorm and organizers told the crowd that they had asked for more water during the day when it was so hot, and their prayers were answered.


“With this rain, the Lord sends us many blessings,” Pope Benedict said when he resumed his shortened remarks.


Reverend Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman said that when the storm started, Pope Benedict had been asked by his aides what he wanted to do and he insisted that he wanted to wait the storm out. The 30 minutes delay was due mainly to the failure of the sound system; once it was fixed and the storm passed, Pope Benedict proceeded with the vigil program, he said.

According to organizers, six people were slightly injured when a tent collapsed during the storm.


Pope Benedict XVI attended World Youth Day for the third time. World Youth Day is a once-every-[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”]three-year event and gathers young Catholics from all around the world and was launched 25 years ago by Pope John Paul II in a bid to reinvigorate and spread the faith among the young.


World Youth Day festival looked pretty much as a weeklong rock concert and camping trip, with bands of flag-toting pilgrims roaming through Madrid’s otherwise empty streets to take part in prayer and education sessions, Masses, cultural outings and papal events.

“I haven’t been able to catch the pope’s exact words because he has spoken only in Spanish but it is an amazing experience to share these moments with so many people from so many different countries,” said Joseph Maduma, a 16-year-old student from Tanzania.

“We have come to spend the night here and really look forward to meeting lots of new friends,” he said.

Earlier Saturday, Pope Benedict celebrated a Mass with nearly 4,000 seminarians at Madrid’s main cathedral and announced that he would soon proclaim St. John of Avila a doctor of the church, conferring one of Catholicism’s greatest honors on the influential 16th century Spanish saint.

The title of church doctor is reserved for those churchmen and women whose writings have greatly served the universal church. There are currently 33 such doctors, including St. Augustine, St. Francis de Sales and St. Teresa of Avila. Pope John Paul II added St. Therese of Lisieux to the list in 1997, the last time one was proclaimed.

“In making this announcement here, I would hope that the word and the example of this outstanding pastor will enlighten all priests and those who look forward to the day of their priestly ordination,” Pope Benedict said.

St. John of Avila, who lived from 1500-1569, is the patron saint of Spain’s diocesan clergy and was considered one of the greatest preachers of his time. A mystic born to a wealthy family, he is known for his theology of the priesthood and is particularly revered in Spain and Latin America, said the Reverend Antonio Pelayo, a Spanish priest who attended Saturday’s Mass.

“He lived during a difficult period in the church’s history when the clergy was very relaxed and somewhat dissolute, something that pained him a lot,” Reverend Pelayo said.

“St. John of Avila developed a theology for the priesthood which enabled the church to grasp and refine an important element of popular religiousness.”

Pope Benedict’s announcement, while rumored, took many by surprise and drew sustained applause from the seminarians, priests, bishops and cardinals present.


[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]Hundreds of protesters against Pope’s visit at the World Youth Day 2011 had gathered outside the Atocha train station aiming to march toward Puerta del Sol but police stopped them before their arrival at the destination by blocking the route.


Last night, riot police clashed again with people protesting against Pope’s visit, charging several groups that had been trying to reach the Puerta del Sol square late Friday.

The protesters were unhappy with Spain decision to spend 50 million euro ( $72 million) for World Youth Day 2011 and Pope’ s visit at a time of economic crisis. Organizers claimed the event is being funded entirely by the participants, private donors and the church, though the sizeable security costs are extra.

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World Youth Day 2011: thunderstorm cut short Pope’s speech.


[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]Over 5,000 people took to the street last night at Madrid’s Catholic Youth Festival, violently protesting against the exorbitant cost of Pope Benedict XVI visit to Madrid, as the country faces an acute economic crisis.


Protesters shouted and whistled, with even violence between them and the police. The protests are even more surprising, knowing that Spain is a country with high percentage of Catholics.


According to AFP, Pope Benedict XVI visit to Madrid at World Youth Day 2011 festival cost is estimated to 50 million euro, but this amount does not include police security service and other related costs, which could increase the budget to 100 million euro.

People violently protesting against the exorbitant cost of Pope Benedict XVI visit to Madrid

People violently protesting against the exorbitant cost of Pope Benedict XVI visit to Madrid

The organizers of Madrid World Youth Day 2011 festival said only 15 million euro will come from Spanish companies, while the rest will be covered by donations from pilgrims arrived at the event.

The rally was attended by “indignant” M-15 movement members, who protested against the government’s austerity drive, and gay rights groups.


Wearing placards with the inscription: “From my taxes, zero cents for the pope. Secular state”, demonstrators answered the call of about 140 associations for defending secularism, the progressive Christians, the militant left-wing or defense of the case gay.


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Protestors of all ages wore placards with slogans or words: “God YES, church NO”, “This youth is not belonging to the Pope,” “Stop trans-phobia, sexism, homophobia!” and “We demand real secular state, freedom of conscience is a right.”

Some pilgrims at World Youth Day, which is held in Madrid this time, shouted “Long live the Pope!”, “This is the pope’s youth” when protesters were passing through, but police opposed the exchange of replicas to degenerate into violences.

Demonstrators of the”indignant” M-15 movement were protesting against the social repercussions of the crisis around two huge portraits of the Pope and the French writer Stephane Hessel, author of the manifesto “Offended you.”

The two portraits were written with the words “Titans shock “, “Joseph ‘holiness’ Ratzinger ‘,’ Stephane ‘outraged’ Hessel.”

The march began in Tirso de Molina square, then reached Puerta del Sol and finally the protesters returned to where they left.

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Wednesday, Spanish police arrested a Mexican chemistry student for allegedly plotting to gas anti-Pope protesters at Madrid’s Catholic Youth Festival.


The suspect planned to attack a march with “asphyxiating gases and other chemical substances”, according to the police.

A police official said the unnamed suspect arrested was a student specializing in organic chemistry.

Officers who searched his apartment seized an external hard-drive and two notebooks with chemical equations not related to his studies and a computer “allegedly used to recruit on the internet”, police said.

There was no suggestion that actual chemicals had been found during the search but police had wanted to avoid even the chance of a failed attack that might panic people, according to the Spanish daily El Pais.

The newspaper added that police had been alerted by people who found the man’s comments on internet forums in which he said attacks on the Pope were unacceptable.


At least a million people from across the world are in Madrid for a six-day Catholic Youth Festival and Pope Benedict XVI visit is planned to sart Thursday morning.[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”dreapta”]


Spain is going through its worst economic crisis in decades, with the highest unemployment rate in the EU, at 21%.

“We are not angry about the Pope’s visit, which some will agree with and others won’t, but rather over the financing of it with public money, especially at a time when many services are being cut because it’s necessary to curb government spending,” 15-M said in a statement.

Young Catholic pilgrims attending the World Youth Day (WYD 2011) festival in Madrid are camping out in community halls and churches across the Spanish capital during the festivities.

Visitors are being offered half-price travel on public transport during the festival.

The festival got under way on Tuesday evening with a giant open-air Mass in an atmosphere akin to a rock concert.

The government has declined to give a figure for the costs, Reuters news agency reports.

Some 800 bishops, archbishops and cardinals from around the world and 8,000 priests tended to the congregation, AFP news agency reports.

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