AJC blocks media from WYD event
The tense relationship between the Australian Jockey Club and the Archdiocese of Sydney took a turn for the worse yesterday after a media lockout spoiled an event aimed at promoting World Youth Day.
More then 200 WYD representatives - including recently named Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko who leads the delegation from the Pontifical Council for the Laity - who were invited by Archbishop of Sydney George Pell to a "pilgrim's lunch", looked on as 30 invited members of the media were blocked from entering the racecourse.
The stand-off comes a year after the AJC the church's announcement that Randwick Racework would be the site for the Papal Mass at which up to 500,000 Catholics are expected to gather.
Racing NSW chief executive officer, Peter V'Landys said the hosting of a media function had come at a sensitive time and was both "provocative and an act of intimidation."
However, Cardinal Pell denied the church had acted provocatively and brushed off the stand-off to a "small hitch" and "proverbial cross-wires".
"The AJC were informed that up to 200 delegates would be attending and that media would be invited," Pell said.
"The Church had discussed the media event with the club's venue manager and that was passed onto its media manager.
"Two days ago, a press release was sent out to all racing writers and general press, so it was a surprise to us when we heard the press was not able to gain entry because we had booked the venue and we had even paid for it."
In a statement, Australian Jockey Club officials distanced themselves from the church event, describing it as a private function that was hosted by the club's convention centre. They acknowledged a media conference had been planned but said senior club members had not been informed.
"However, to avoid any prospect of damaging what have otherwise been constructive discussions, media was later provided access to Royal Randwick."
AJC blocks church media event (Sydney Morning Herald, 18/10/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day 2008
Australian Jockey Club
Vatican delegation arrive for WYD (CathNews, 16/10/07)
Randwick still unconfirmed for WYD (CathNews, 08/10/07)
Bishops offer help but Pell has "no idea", AJC gripes (CathNews, 05/10/07)
WYD construction an equine flu risk: Randwick trainers (CathNews, 20/09/07)
WYD registrations exceeding expectations (CathNews, 04/09/07)
18 Oct 2007