As Resilient as a Cockroach


I went to World Youth Day and I was converted.

I’ve seen the light. I understand now all that the enlightened ones have been trying to tell me: the Catholic Church is a deluded institution. My friend who told me before I left for Sydney that religion is the root of all evil was right. After spending a week with these mainly Catholic nutters, it couldn’t be clearer. Love, compassion, peace, generosity. These people are way out of touch with the real world.

The world really would be better off without the Catholic Church. Problem is, what will get rid of it? It’s like a cockroach: it would probably even survive a nuclear bomb. All attempts to weaken it have failed, both externally and internally. Catholics reckon a man from a backwater country village somewhere in the Middle East invented their religion off the foundations of Judaism over 2000 years ago. How the dickens it’s still going today beats me. It has had its fair share of corrupt leaders over time and still it has managed to lumber through.

After spending the last few days with this homogenous herd of people – from over 168 nations — I am convinced we must do what we can to save them from this delusion. The affection for their leader — an old, old man who has changed his name to "Blessed" — is based on what can only be viewed as a gross misconception: that he will tell them the truth, even when no one else can or will.

After days and days of singing and dancing, I couldn’t believe this persistent cheerfulness was natural. All those late nights and early starts had eventually to wear the pilgrims down. But despite my best efforts to find the hidden stimulants, I had to come to the conclusion that this wild behaviour was not drug-induced. Therefore we have a difficult enemy on our hands. If these delusions are substance-free, then we can only conclude we are fighting the immaterial.

These people believe they are in their right minds, and so clearly, they are insane. Aren’t they? How could anyone honestly be enjoying themselves when there was no boozing and no one was getting laid?

Which brings me to another experience which further advanced my realisation that this institution is an oppressive weight on humanity. In one of the official World Youth Day sessions I checked in on, a man spoke about the Catholic Church’s advice on sex and love. This guy was mobbed by thousands of young people who couldn’t get enough of hearing about it. Three nights in a row he painted a demanding picture of what true love was, and the place was so full the officials had to turn people away.

I mean, what were these young kids thinking? They have more sexual freedom than any generation that has gone before them, and they’re pushing down doors to hear a man tell them they won’t be satisfied if they just indulge their urge to merge?

The final night in Randwick Racecourse was the pinnacle of this truly bizarre week. And I could only come to one conclusion as to why these people could celebrate so much when they faced a freezing night ahead. They are living in a shell. They have no idea what’s going on in the real world. I met people from Nigeria to Brazil, South Africa to the United States — from states as far flung as Texas, California and Washington. I met Lebanese, Israelis, people from the United Arab Emirates, Poland, Germany, France, Argentina, Canada, Italy, Kenya, Britain and Botswana.

These young people went even more crazy when they heard the words of their leader — Benny, they call him. He spoke to them of striving to be better people, bearers of peace and generosity, and not to be afraid of the demands of living an upright life. He told young people they were to be full of hope for the future, and above all to love. To love without seeking human reward. And the herd cheered until they were hoarse.

It’s truly a plague on society.

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