All you need is love!
In July 2013, 2.5 million young Catholics from all over the world converged on Rio for a week long “World Youth Day” attended by none other than Pope Francis himself. Now what do young people get up to on holiday in a hot country, full of romantic vistas, and humming birds and toucans swooping through the air? (I know, I’ve been there!)
Remember, we’re talking about a community which bans the use of condoms.
I confidently predict that there will be a boom in the birth rate in 9 months time. They’ll be the babies named “Francis” if they’re boys (or perhaps “Frances” if they’re girls). It makes little difference if the young mums and dads are dedicated Catholics, Moslems or Communists. Underneath the labels we’re all subject to the same longings and emotions.
Now what did the new Pope throw into this heady mix? INDULGENCES! This is a get-out-of-gaol-free card for sinners. All who attend, or follow events on line, receive one plenary or full indulgence per day. This is defined by the Catholic News Service (CNS) as a “remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven”. To get one, a participant has to
(a) go to confession (100 extra confessionals have been set up around the venue for this).
(b) receive communion (8400 extra priests have been drafted in from around the world).
(c) offer prayers for the Pope
In other words it appears to be carte blanche ! Oh, and if, unlike the Pope, you are into responsible behaviour, condoms are available in that pharmacy next to Rio’s main railway station – one per day, remember!
If you then wish to make the Pope’s ears go pink, you can make your confession direct to him in Rio’s Quinta da Boa Vista Park on July 26. Hurry, the sinners are queuing up already.