Feelings run high in Madrid ahead of Ratzinger’s obscenely expensive visit

MY first WTF? moment of the day occurred when I spotted this photograph in the New York Times:

It’s a picture taken by Marta Ramoneda of 200 portable confessional booths set up in Madrid’s Retiro Park for Pope Ratzinger’s visit this week (he arrives tomorrow).

And today, ahead of the tarted-up tyrant’s World Youth Day visit, a massive protest is scheduled to take place. Thousands of Spaniards are incensed over the obscene cost of the visit, said to be in the region of £44-million.

Among the protesters is the Rev Eubilio Rodríguez, who described the cost as”scandalous.”

It is shameful. It discredits the church.

Father Rodríguez, 67, is among the 120 clergymen working among the poor in Madrid who have signed a lengthy petition deploring the visit this week on many grounds — from its cost to what they see as an inappropriate melding of church and state.

Government and church officials insist the cost to taxpayers will be minimal and the lift to local businesses substantial. Spain’s businesses community came up with £14- million to pay for various events and the pilgrims will pay about £27- million themselves. Other donations should cover the rest, the officials say.

“The public administration helped us in only two ways,” said Fernando Giménez Barriocanal, the financial director of World Youth Day 2011. The pilgrims will be allowed to sleep in public buildings like schools. And businesses will be able to get tax deductions for their contributions, he said.

But critics are calling the claims ridiculous. Father Rodríguez and others who signed the 10-page petition say the costs are always fuzzy when the Pope swans to town. They suspect that the cost of extra security, of collecting trash and of stress on health systems will add up to millions for taxpayers. For one thing, the pilgrims have been granted an 80 percent discount on public transportation, which some find particularly galling because subway fares just went up by 50 percent.

The priests are not alone in making such claims. Esther López Barceló, youth coordinator for the small United Left party said:

They still can’t tell us how much the Pope’s visit cost two years ago. Every time he comes here, the figures become opaque.

According to this report, dozens of liberal and left-wing groups demanding a secular state say they will stage at least one march against the visit, despite being repeatedly refused permission to demonstrate by the authorities. A top trade union has also called a strike on the city’s metro network to coincide with the visit.

Protesters – who criticise the church for everything from clerical child abuse to its support for the Franco regime – are incensed by official attempts to block social media sites through which demonstrations are being planned.

Attempts made this week in a Madrid public library to access blogs and websites where protest plans were discussed produced the message:

Access denied due to content policy – you are trying to access unauthorised content.

The Madrid municipality rejected censorship claims, saying the filter they use denies access to sites that may contain sexual content or allow for illegal downloading of films and music.

44 responses to “Feelings run high in Madrid ahead of Ratzinger’s obscenely expensive visit”

  1. Newspaniard says:

    Big Brother in Madrid… I wasn’t aware…

  2. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Have we here in the UK been paid for ratboy’s visit yet? Have all our police forces and local councils been reimbursed for the extra monies spent protecting him and clearing up after him?

    Where ever he goes, he swans about in luxury while the poor locals have to pay.

  3. elainek123 says:

    I thought Europe was in financial chaos. Perhaps they should make the Pope watch Panorama about Mugabe and the killing fields in Zimbabwe and the torture camps, as he seems to like his company at the vatican.

  4. AgentCormac says:

    It seems not everyone is happy with people voicing their objection to Ratty’s lavish and inappropriate visit to Spain. In fact, it seems they are prepared to use violence to shut objectors up.

    What’s the betting he turns out to be a religiot?

  5. Broga says:

    @Graham Martin-Royle: After forcing council and income tax payers to fund much of Ratzi’s visit he owed the UK a modest £6 million. I don’t think that has been paid and I don’t think that it will. Too many ratziphiles in the government and they think that it is bad form even to raise an eye brow to this major scam artist about his debt.

    He is, of course, devoid of any sense of shame. While preaching morality, praising the virtues of poverty and modesty he lusts for adulation. He dresses in the finest designer produced robes and shoes; exhibits himself before his flock; bathes in the adulation he craves to try to fill the black hole of his outrageous ego. He can never be still, never be at peace and whatever solace he receives from his vastly expensive peregrinations will always only be temporary. Even Ratzi himself knows at some troublesome level that he has exchanged the real satisfactions of life for perversions.

    His repressions haunt him and these trips are no more than an attempt to deflect his worst fears.

  6. Normand says:

    Well said, Broga. I’m a retired teacher and I can’t afford Gucci shoes and eye glasses like that vain pompous ass does.

  7. David B says:

    AgentCormac beat me to it.

    Apparently the guy is Mexican. Lots of Catholics in Mexico

    David B

  8. Atheist4Life says:

    I think the Catholic Church is the best example of an industry that rather then use it’s own money they instead use the taxpayers money for it’s business. The Catholic Church alone has billions and possibly more then that and religion has a whole brings in trillions every year, if religions tax free status ever gets removed (which it won’t since it’s the biggest industry in the world and has influence in politics and media to make sure it gets it’s way) the world won’t be any financial troubles at all. For all we know religion could actually be the cause of the financial troubles in order to buy it’s way back into society for complete control and it may also use a finacial system that is 100% protected from bad financial situations.

  9. Ivan says:

    Looks like the RC Church is taking the pisoir again…….

  10. Cliff Knoetz says:

    I’m leaving the city for the weekend. My parents are celebrating their 40th wedding aniversary, which would probably make Mr. Ratzinger quite happy had we been Catholics… This place is rammed with bible-thumpers. You can hear them chanting even with all the windows shut. I go out of my apartment and there are packs of them wandering from church to church like backpackers in crucifix t-shirts, sometimes following a guy with a flag and banner on a tall stick.

    My girlfriend went into a restaurant near her job and there was a special “Pilgrims” menu del dia on the board outside. I’m guessing it’s three courses of the body of christ, drinks included.

  11. remigius says:

    Cliff Knoetz. If this jolly is anything like the original meet & greet, in Northern Israel 2000 years ago, the punters will have to share fish sandwiches. At least that Jesus bloke didn’t expect the Galileans to pick up his tab.

    And he even laid on the catering himself!

  12. Paul M says:

    Looks like she’s confessing her sins against fashion.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Looks as if they’re using tongues!

  14. AgentCormac says:

    Looks like she’s checking out a glory hole to me. Whatever one of those is.

  15. AngieRS says:

    Ratcatcher must be laughing his socks off. Another bunch of mugs taken in.

  16. Robster says:

    Have they covered Spain with their franklin mint “dead bloke on a stick” plastic figures yet? Is the sweet scent of burning incense filling the air, no doubt adding to the discomfort of asmatics all over the place. How much CO2 will the old bugger be spewing into the atmosphere on his wasteful visit to nation that appears not to want him tainting its real estate? How many “hangers on” are travelling with the poop?

  17. AgentCormac says:

    Looks like anti-poop feelings ran a bit high last night.

  18. Har Davids says:

    I read there are special offers as well; apparently one can confess the sin of abortion and you will not be excommunicated!!

  19. Robert Tobin says:

    Der Führer der Vatikanstaat, Herr Papst Ratslinger. I would love to hear his confession.

  20. barriejohn says:

    AgentCormac: I see that that article has had a makeover already. I bet they’ve got the Pope’s Visit Massive Success headlines ready in advance!

  21. Broga says:

    @AgentCormac: Unusual to read anything critical of Ratzinger from the BBC – aka as “Benedict’s Broadcasting for Catholics”. (Funded by the license payers, including atheists.) Must have slipped under the radar of the RC religious mafia at the BBC. Won’t have done anything to promote the career of the journalist involved.

    They really need to get their Religious Spinmeister on to this sharpish or some objective reporting on Papa might slip out. And, please, no mention of that terrible Kenny man in Ireland and paedophilia. They are probably working on an excommunication process for him. That will sort him out. And no mention of the £6 million the Vatican owes UK tax payers.

  22. barriejohn says:

    Of course, I do realize that this might just be part of a ruse to claim that there is no money left in the coffers to pay any compensation!

  23. Thoreau says:

    Well that’s the last time I ever visit the Sydney Opera House.

    And the acoustics were shit.

  24. AgentCormac says:


    I definitely smell a rat. Or a Ratty.

  25. Broga says:

    @barriejohn. The problem is that the RC priests are such liars. And that has been proved times without number. They won’t shell out for victims, Ratzi’s and entourage’s luxury travel, and anyththing else, including paying their debts, that they can avoid.

    They never seem short of cash for Ratzi’s designer outfits and gucci shoes.

    I note that while Ratzi was patronising the gullible who were prepared to listen to him the Spanish cops were baton charging the objectors.

  26. barriejohn says:

    Many dioceses are closing churches, and there is a lot of ill-feeling about this:

  27. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Typical, isn’t it, the way the RC Church uses the secular aspects of the state when it suits them e.g. the law and legs it for the spiritual when they can get away with it. These shifty priests have no shame, lack honour and are unfit company for any civilised and decent human being.

  28. Stonyground says:

    I thought that the RCC in Ireland wanting to impose some kind of tax on catholics was a very encouraging development. If times are hard and people are getting uncomfortable about belonging to the RCC anyway, what a great way to give them that one last push.

    Those confessionals are pretty bizarre. I always thought that they were supposed to be like two privvies side by side with a little sliding door in between.

  29. JohnMWhite says:

    If it is true that the Spanish authorities are shutting down social media sites to thwart protests, I would consider that an act of war against their own populace for the sake of a head of state of another nation. It’s treason, and the Spanish people have every right to demolish the entire country to get at a man so dangerous that his mere presence causes the suspension of regular law and human rights.

  30. Stephen Turner says:

    According to this, a court in the Basque region has been asked to order the Pope’s detention for covering up pedophilia.

  31. Broga says:

    @Stephen Turner: And long overdue. I suppose Ratzi will want to finish what a UK newspaper has described as his “Nuremberg style rallies” to young people first.

  32. […] the freethinker Magazine, we find that 200 portable, open-air confessionals have been set up in Madrid’s Retiro Park […]

  33. CriticalEyeYayeye says:

    Where do they have the confessionals set up for all the ass-F**king, child-raping priests?

  34. Thoreau says:

    So…. are you a priest or a minor?

  35. barriejohn says:

    No wonder he is so fond of Saint John of Avila, as he was most likely one of the Alumbrados:

    The alumbrados held that the human soul can reach such a degree of perfection that it can even in the present life contemplate the essence of God and comprehend the mystery of the Trinity. All external worship, they declared, is superfluous, the reception of the sacraments useless, and sin impossible in this state of complete union with God. Persons in this state of impeccability could indulge their sexual desires and commit other sinful acts freely without staining their souls. (Wikipedia)

  36. barriejohn says:

    I don’t really know what to say about this!

  37. Broga says:

    Sounds like with the storm, tearing off his skull cap, soaking his notes, god was sending Ratzi a message: “You are in trouble. I detest you.”

  38. AgentCormac says:


    I’ve played that twice, and I still don’t understand a word.

  39. David B says:

    I’m missing my daily dose of Frethinker.

    Nothing since 17th.

    Hope all well, assuming it’s not a problem associated with upgrading to FF6.

    Everything else seems to work, though.

  40. Stonyground says:

    I recall learning about the defeat of the Spanish Armada at primary school. They forgot to mention that the whole point of the attempted invasion was to convert Protestant England, by force, to the one true faith. Not only did the lumbering Spanish Galleons take a hammering from the much more nimble English warships, but the weather did a really good job of finishing them off. If that experience failed to convince them that God is a Protestant I don’t think that anything would. Blowing the Pope’s hat off and raining on his parade is pretty trivial by comparison.

  41. Broga says:

    @Stonyground: Good point. God is defintely a Protestant and he must be very upset at seeing Ratzi and his friends parading around in frocks. Not only frocks but frocks with diaphanous lace which stretches to their ankles. What kind of come-on is this and to whom? These men, dressed like this, should be ashamed of themselves. They must be causing lascivious excitement and unbridled lustful thoughts in so many of the watching youth.

    This entire so called Youth Festival is nothing but a public display of shameless perversion.