Saturday, May 10, 2008

All in the Family

Seeking to "expose [her] uncle's hypocrisy," the niece of Madrid's Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela took to the glossies... where she exposed herself:
Magdalena Rouco Hernandez appears topless on the cover of Interviu as well as in eight full-sized photos inside, including one were she is wearing nothing but a necklace of green beads and a red flower.

"I wanted to expose the hypocrisy of my uncle," the 27-year-old mother of two told the magazine. "Through my uncle I discovered the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church which preaches one thing and does the opposite."

Hernandez added:"My uncle does not stop repeating that the family is sacred, that you must respect it and fight for it, but then he scorns and abandons his own."

By way of example, she said her uncle, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, 71, turned down her request for financial help when her husband lost his job and did not call her family in the wake of her mother's death.

She also accused the cardinal of lying about having a meeting with the late Pope John Paul II to justify not attending her father's funeral seven years ago.

Rouco Varela, who is close to Pope Benedict XVI, has been an outspoken critic of the progressive social reforms introduced by Spain's socialist government such as the legalization of gay marriage and the relaxation of divorce laws.
In March, just before the governing Socialists -- a frequent target of the Madrid red-hat -- won re-election, the canonist-cardinal was elected to his second stint as head of the Spanish episcopal conference.

And if you're thinking that Madrid could really use a World Youth Day as a response to this, you're not alone; word 'round the campfire tips the Spanish capital as a "strong" front-runner to host WYD 2011. The last time a Spanish-speaking country hosted Wojtyla's beloved triennial brainchild came in 1989, when Spain's historic pilgrimage mecca of Santiago de Compostela took center-stage for WYD IV.

The archbishop of Santiago at the time: you guessed it, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela.

* * *
In today's WYD Sydney brief, the latest group gone panicked from the "huge shortfall in predicted numbers" for the 15-20 July event are the city's hotels, one of which reported being "left in the lurch" over its dearth of reservations.

Some relief, however, might be on its way from across the Pacific. In the wake of the papal visit to these shores, the Stateside trenches are experiencing something of a bounce to see B16 again.

Even so, in a notable change from its prior tack, Sydneyside tourism officials are looking to U-turn their prior message for the Pope's week in Oz, now saying in effect that all are welcome for the week (just so long as they use public transport).

And for what it's worth, hopefully that welcome includes the 100 or so Chaldean pilgrims from Iraq trying to raise funds to be there... after what they've experienced in recent years, few (if any) deserve the chance to celebrate more.