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Pell lobbies for World Youth Day Sydney 2008

Sydney's Cardinal George Pell has confirmed that he has been talking with Vatican officials about the possibility of Sydney hosting World Youth Day in 2008.

According to a report in Catholic World News, no formal request has been made, but Cardinal Pell said the Australian bishops are "very interested" in the possibility.

"I have already spoken with the Pontifical Council for the Laity," he said.

Cardinal Pell, who has been in Rome with the other Australian bishops for the ad limina visit, added that he has written to the Pontifical Council (which sponsors World Youth Day), to say that the Australian bishops are studying the feasibility of hosting World Youth Day, and discussing the possibility with Australian government officials.

"My goal is to strengthen the faith of young Australians," the cardinal said.

He said that the Catholic community in Australia needs help in persuading young people to resist the lures of "alcohol, drugs, and the improper understanding of the Christian message on sexuality".

Australia's bid reportedly got off to a false start when earlier this year the head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity's Youth Section called the public announcement of bids including Australia's "inappropriate".

Meanwhile a report in the Roman news agency I Media in the past week suggested the event would be held in January 2008, with Australia's summer a lure for visitors from the winter of the northern hemisphere.

The German city of Cologne will host next year's event. A formal announcement of the 2008 "winner" will be made during that event.

World Youth Day in Sydney for 2008? (Catholic World News 29/3/04)

Vatican rebuff for Sydney's "premature" 2007 World Youth Day bid (CathNews 23/2/04)
Early public lobbying for World Youth Day prompts Vatican criticism (Catholic News Service 20/2/04)
Bishops back Sydney bid for World Youth Day 2007 (CathNews 1/12/03)
World Youth Day (Australian site)
World Youth Day Cologne 2005
World Youth Day (Catholic Weekly 11/1/04)
Sydney bids for World Youth Day (Catholic Weekly 7/12/03)
Sydney's bid to host WYD 2007 gets boost (CathNews 8/1/04)
Pontifical Council for the Laity

Schisms of theology run silent, run deep (Toronto Globe and Mail 25/7/02)

30 Mar 2004