Visa denials disappoint WYD would-be pilgrims

The Pulitzer.de news agency has learned that around 1000 aspiring pilgrims from developing countries have been denied visas required to enter Germany to travel to Cologne for this month's World Youth Day.

The German Foreign Minstry has stressed that it is not discriminating against individuals, but applying its criteria to all visa applicants from affected countries. Australians do not need a visa to enter Germany, but residents of many other countries, especially developing countries, do.

Pulitzer.de has put the current number of visa denials at 1000, including 600 from the Philippines. Smaller groups from Cameroun and Nigeria were reportedly also denied the necessary travel documents.

Foreign-Ministry spokesperson Rolf Ackermann has told the agency that the number of denied visa was "the usual quota as with other visa applications, namely 8% to 12%".

According to WYD organisers, 9% of the 372,000 registered pilgrims need a visa. The quota mentioned suggests that between 2700 and 4000 would-be pilgrims will be denied a visa.

An email from Filipino aspirants indicated that they would pursue their applications despite the fact that they will almost certainly fail.

"We're entrusting everything to the Lord with bountiful prayers," said one would-be pilgrim.

Travel blockades by Germany no "singular cases" (World Youth Day Independent News/stern1.de 7/8/05)
600 disappointed in Manila, an e-mail (World Youth Day Independent News/stern1.de 7/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day - Australia
World Youth Day - International
World Youth Day - Vatican
World Youth Day 2005 - News by www.pulitzer.de

Pope says worship is ultimate in human fulfillment (CathNews 8/8/05)
No-fly zone to aid WYD papal mass security (CathNews 5/8/05)
Youth make biggest ever pilgrimage to leave Australia (CathNews 4/8/05)
400 Melbourne youth head to Cologne to meet new Pope (CathNews 3/8/05)
Sydney WYD champagne corks await word from Pope (CathNews 2/8/05)
Vatican journo claims 2008 WYD 'winner is Sydney' (CathNews 1/8/05)
Terror threat changes WYD plans for Sydney pilgrims (CathNews 28/7/05)
WYD preparations enter home stretch (CathNews 20/7/05)
World Youth Day cross begins final push for Cologne (CathNews 7/7/05)
Pell leads bid for Sydney World Youth Day (CathNews 5/7/05)
Pope's trip to World Youth Day officially announced (CathNews 22/6/05)
Cardinal urges pope to keep World Youth Day commitment (CathNews 3/3/05)
German organizers further plans for World Youth Day (CathNews 7/1/05)

Looking ahead to Cologne (Vatican Radio English Features 7/8/05, audio - requires Real Player)
First Irish youth delegation to depart for WYD in Cologne (catholicireland.net 7/8/05)
Sydney bids to crucify Gibson (The Guardian 8/8/05)
Modern pilgrims go global (Northern Daily Leader 8/8/05)
Kimberley residents prepare for German pilgrimage (ABC News 7/8/05)
Pope asks "spiritual mobilization" for World Youth Day (Catholic World News 7/8/05)
Mel Gibson asked to portray Passion for next World Youth Day (Catholic World News 7/8/05)
Young voices in the countdown to World Youth Day (Independent Catholic News 7/8/05)

9 Aug 2005