Tag Archive for: pope

Why tapering a monument of freedom during the Pope’s visit?

The first visit by a Pope to Portugal took place on May 13, 1967, when Paul VI visited Fatima on the 50th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Maria at Cova da Iria in 1917. It wasn’t an official state visit as the Government of dictator Salazar didn’t like the fact that Paul VI had visited India in 1964, three years after the invasion of its colony Goa by the Indian state, considering the trip ‘an insult to the Portuguese nation.’

Thereafter Pope John II visited the country three times and Pope Benedict XVI once. The second visit of the Argentine Pope Francis to Portugal is the seventh of a pontiff in office to Portugal with Fatima as a common denominator. But this time also in view of the upcoming World Youth Days (WYD).

In connection with this, the Lisbon council is keen to ensure that the phallic sculpture by João Cutileiro (1937-2021)commemorating the Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974 – isn’t visible during the catholic festivities and is willing to spend over 120.000 euros to hide the 90-ton and 6-meter-high obelisk during the Pope’s visit.

The original idea was to dismantle and remove the entire sculpture (to be returned to its place after the celebrations of the Catholic Church have ended) but the Councill then opted for a cheaper option of restoring the monument (which has suffered a number of fissures over the years) and keeping it under wraps during the religious encounter.

Officially christened ‘Cravo e Colunas’ (carnation and columns) – and popularly called the ‘dick’ – the phallic element of the work is meant to symbolize the virile force and vigor of the revolution. But the council believes it could be too much for the Pope to stage a mass next to the statue in Lisbon’s Park Eduardo VII and expose the young believers to the phallic vision of one of the country’s most famous modern sculptors. 

However, in view of the importance of this national monument, how can it be allowed to be covered in order to hold a religious ceremony? What is being covered anyway: the ‘penis’ or the celebration of freedom? 

WYD is costing the Lisbon council, the government, and the Portuguese Catholic Church combined over 160 million euros. Over 1 million visitors are expected during this bi-annual event, which runs in Lisbon from August 1-6. Despite all preparations, authorities have warned that traffic in the capital is likely to be chaotic in the five days affected.

Enjoy your week          Aproveite a semana                (pic Público/Sapo)

The largest gathering of young Catholics worldwide

According to the Census of 2021, 80% of Portuguese older than 15 years adhere to the Roman Catholic faith.
World Youth Day (WYD) is a major, religious encounter between young Catholics from all over the world and the Pope taking place for the first time this year in Portugal.

This biggest event ever is to be held from 1-6 August in Lisbon and the neighboring municipality of Loures. Around 1.5 million youngsters from 180 countries are expected. To date, more than 10,000 volunteers have been registered but 20 to 30 thousand are expected. During the event, police officers will see their holidays suspended.

The WYD occurs every two or three years in a city chosen by the Pope, lasts about a week, and is both a pilgrimage and a youth festival. The event is open to everyone between 14 and 30 years. The first WYD) took place in Buenos Aires (1987) and the last in Panama (2019).

The main ceremonies take place in the Tagus Park, north of Parque das Nações, along the Tagus river. Pope Francis will arrive on the 3rd and close the event on the 6th of August with the ‘missa do envio’ (farewell mass).

There will be an altar stage constructed at the Tagus costing about 3 million euros (after the event to be used for other shows and spectacles).
The four-meter high stage will have a capacity for 1250 people (including bishops, concelebrants, choir and orchestra, sign language interpreters, and technical staff) and covers an area of 3250 square meters.

Costs are estimated at 160 million euros. Lisbon City Council is willing to invest up to 35 million (including 21,5 million for the requalification of the Tagus Park), the Government 36,5 million, and Loures up to 10 million euros. The president of the Lisbon WYD Foundation and auxiliary bishop of Lisbon Américo Aguiar declared that the Church’s investment will be at least 80 million (30 million for feeding the participants) as the Church will be responsible for the costs of everything related to the reception of pilgrims. 

The economic return on the studies carried out in relation to Madrids WYD (2011) represented an economic benefit of around 350 million euros. ‘I assume that Portugal will have an economic return of the same magnitude’, declared José Sá Fernandes, the government coordinator of the event.

Given the expected influx of participants to the week-long Catholic jamboree prices for accommodation are already skyrocketing. Hotels in Lisbon are cited as charging over 4000 euros a week, apartments in Moscavide, Loures cost 5000 a week, an apartment in Fátima 8000 a week, and a three-bedroom apartment in the nearby Parque da Nações likely to cost 2500 euros a day!

The director of the National Department of Youth, father Filipe Diniz, believes the recent report on child sexual abuse by members of the clergy will not affect the event. In fact, he went so far as to suggest that participation in WYD could ‘increase religious vocation’.

Two tons of wheat produced in the Alentejo will be transformed by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery in Lisbon into millions of hosts for the Eucharistic celebrations.

Most surprising, however, is that six months from the opening hardly any construction work has begun on site.

Enjoy the week            Aproveita a semana               (pic Público/Sapo)

‘Hij gaat ze heilig verklaren.’ Glimmend van genot staat de 70-jarige Carmen voor me. ‘Wie gaat wie …’ wil ik vragen, als ze me al in de rede valt. ‘En we gaan er ook naartoe. Met de pastoor’. ‘Tjé, wat goed’, mompel ik. ‘Dat jullie nog een bus hebben kunnen regelen. Ik las in de krant dat er meer dan een miljoen mensen schijnen te komen.’
‘Maar wie gaat wie eigenlijk heilig verklaren’, probeer ik nog eens. Ze kijkt me niet begrijpend aan. ‘Papa Francisco, natuurlijk, die gaat Jacinta en Francisco heilig verklaren. Dat zijn die twee herdertjes waar de Maagd Maria 100 jaar geleden aan verschenen is. (Fátima)
Dat weet u toch wel?’ ‘Nee, sorry Carmen, nu snap ik het even niet meer. Die twee waren toch al heilig?’ ‘Nee’, zegt ze streng. ‘Ze waren eerst zalig verklaard en nu gaat de paus ze op 13 mei heilig verklaren, als hij in Fatima is. Ze zijn dan de jongste heiligen in de Rooms-Katholieke Kerk. Leuk hè!’ Glimlachend loopt ze de hoek om.

Zalig of heilig?
Zaligverklaring is een gebruik binnen de Rooms-Katholieke Kerk, waarbij een paus officieel verklaart dat iemand publiekelijk vereerd mag worden. Overigens moet die persoon daarvoor wel een wonder hebben verricht. Een ‘zalige’ heeft vooral betekenis voor een bepaalde regio, waar hij of zij al geruime tijd door de lokale bevolking vereerd wordt.
Voor een heiligverklaring moeten twee wonderen aan de betreffende persoon zijn toegeschreven. De ‘heilige’ wordt dan ingeschreven in de canon – de lijst der heiligen – en mag vervolgens over de hele wereld vereerd worden.

Fátima als altaar van de wereld

De meeste buitenlandse toeristen komen traditiegetrouw uit Spanje, Italië en Polen. De laatste jaren is er een forse toename van bezoekers uit Azië en boeken Zuid-Koreanen al meer overnachtingen dan katholieke Brazilianen.
Inmiddels zijn er zo’n 40.000 pelgrims – merendeels vrouwen – uit alle delen van het land te voet op weg naar Fátima.

Erkenning maar ook omzet

Dit jaar worden er – door het bezoek van de paus en de heiligverklaring van de twee kinderen – meer dan 10 miljoen bezoekers verwacht.
Dat geeft niet alleen een ‘boost’ aan de wereldwijde erkenning van Fátima maar ook aan de plaatselijke omzet van rooms-katholieke snuisterijen.

22 uur en 40 minuten zal paus Franciscus op Portugese bodem verblijven. De regering heeft aangekondigd dat zowel ambtenaren als scholen een vrije dag hebben en dat de grenzen tijdelijk dicht gaan.

Geniet van het weekend        Tenha um excelente fim de semana