I know Rebecca said I was going to write a post about the pope’s visit to Madrid, but I live so close to PopeCon central, I can hardly hear myself blaspheme.
Fortunately, the awesome Escéptica writer Daurmith lives a little farther away and was able to write this report for Skepchick.
Yup. He’s here. Joseph Ratzinger, aka Benedict XVI, aka The Pope™, in Madrid, Spain. Hurray.
Forgive me if I don’t seem too excited, but, you see, I’m not a catholic. I’m one of those atheists this Pope is so set up against, and although I have no qualms with this guy going wherever he pleases, his visit is being more than a tad disruptive for the rest of us.
Wow, I’m so negative. Must be all that brain working or something. After all, the Pope’s visit is going to be so positive for all of us!
First, there’s the traffic. Madrid is rather chaotic to begin with, now it’s going to be a nightmare. Two of the busiests avenues in the city are going to be closed for 6 days straight. But wait, this is good! This is simply a clever plot to encourage you to walk everywhere! Lose those extra pounds! Give your heart a much-needed workout! Temperatures in the hundreds shouldn’t be a problem if you have faith. Oh, and a nice hat that you get when you register, along with the rest of the pilgrim’s kit. It’s worth the money, surely!
Of course, you can always use public transportation. Healthier! Environmentally responsible! Crowded! Oh, wait, it’s 50% more expensive now. But not if you’re a pilgrim! For pilgrims, the tickets can be up to 80% cheaper. What luck! Pity I’m not one of them, I’ll have to pay the full fee. ‘Cause I’m not catholic, you see. I probably deserve it, too.
Well, no matter. Surely the joyous sight of all those young, pious people on the streets is going to be nice. A cheerful picture of songs and smiles and simple, honest faith. And, to be perfectly truthful, that’s how it is for the most part.
Except when there’s an (authorized) march protesting the spending of public money for the Pope’s visit. You know, atheists, gays, even catholics (but these are the bad catholics, of course). These people must be so mean. Did you see their sign? It said: “My taxes are not for the Pope. For a secular state” The fiends! It was, apparently, so radical and offensive that the police had to intervene. To be fair, both sides got a bit overexcited, but still, didn’t someone say something about the other cheek?
Serious aside for everybody involved: that was sad, and moronic, and shouldn’t have happened. I don’t care if you’re catholic or not. Don’t start a brawl. If someone else started it, don’t respond. Violence is completely stupid, and not helpful at all, for either side.
Money is such a crass thing to talk about in these days so full of spirituality, isn’t it? This was probably the reason why the organization decided that even volunteers had to pay. They are told the 30€ fee is to cover, among other things, their medical insurance, even though, by Spanish law, volunteers’ insurance is paid for them.
This said, one of the volunteers was this nice young man who was arrested yesterday. A trifle, really: he was planning an attack with poisonous gas on the critics of the Pope’s visit. Fortunately nothing happened, although he’ll probably have to confess. Well, there’s a good chance he’ll be absolved. If even women that had abortions can be absolved during these 6 days, why can’t he?
Of course, this isn’t the first thing that has been critiziced about the cost of the whole festival, but what do they know, right?
If all this is starting to scare you, don’t worry, there’s hope! Some clever minds have devised Appapa, the app you were waiting for! Your phone needs this right now: an app that will warn you whenever you’re 500 meters or less from the Pope, so that you can avoid him. And if you are not sure why you should avoid this nice old man in red shoes, Appapa will helpfully remind you of some of the things he has said, just so you know.
And now, if you will excuse me, I think I need to go hide under a rock somewhere. At least until Sunday. Once I’ve downloaded Appapa, of course.