|Vatican||HOLY SEE URGES RETHINK OF GAY PRIDE FESTIVAL|
Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said on Friday he hoped authorities would reconsider staging a big gay festival in Rome this year.
Thousands of homosexuals and transsexuals from around the world are expected to converge on the city from 28 June to 9 July for World Gay Pride 2000.
The event, which is scheduled to include soccer matches in drag and transvestite fashion parades, will coincide with the presence of hundreds of thousands of Catholic pilgrims in Rome and Vatican City to celebrate the Holy Year declared by the Pope.
"The authorities know that Rome is a holy city, as the Concordat says, a city apart because of the presence of the Roman pontiff," Sodano told reporters on the fringe of a ceremony at the Vatican.
"It is a matter of a sense of proportion, of balance, and I am sure the authorities will reconsider the matter," he added.
The Concordat is the treaty that guides relations between Italy and the Vatican.
"The civil authorities know how to deal with public order ... they know the rules and know how to avoid things that can harm the sensibilities of a city such as Rome," Sodano added.
Reuters 12:14am 31/1/00