Spanish priests oppose sponsored WYD papal visit

A group Spanish priests have criticised the Church for getting sponsorship for the Pope’s visit to World Youth Day (WYD) in August.

In a rare break in public loyalty, the 120 priests told their archbishop, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, that the sponsorship deals reinforced the impression the Church was a privileged institution.

The Church recently signed up a list of high-profile corporate sponsors including multi-nationals and Spain’s top companies, and mounted a nationwide advertising campaign in preparation for WYD.

The Priests of Madrid Forum complained that organizers have made “a pact with the economic and political powers which reinforces the image of the Church as a privileged institution, close to power, and the social scandal this implies, especially in the context of the economic crisis”, in a 10 page open letter.

“To trust in the strength of power and money … is to give in to a temptation as old as the Church,” said the letter.

“No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money,” the letter said, citing the passage from the Bible, Matthew 6:24.

“The crisis has its origin in the banks’ and large groups’ uncontrolled desire for profits,” the priests wrote.

“We believe the Cardinal, concerned about the multi-million budget for the event, has chosen the worst collaborators.”

The Archbishop declined to comment.


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