Brazil will be a busy place this decade
Pope Benedict XVI announced this weekend that the World Youth Day 2013, the biggest Catholic international encounter, would take place in Rio de Janeiro. It’s not as if the city was not already busy over the next half-decade - it will host the final of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games. Yet it’s another big party (it gathered over a million of pilgrims this year in Spain) reasserting, if need there was, the international stature of the biggest South American economy.
Plus it’s unlikely to trigger as fierce a debate as in cash-strapped Madrid, where violent protests condemned the cost of event. In addition to the extra spotlight it draws on a city that has lost much of its influence to Sao Paolo and Brasilia, the authorities say it will fill up all of Rio’s hotels and bring sizeable revenues to the local economy.
The Catholic Church won’t disapprove. Placing the institution in the limelight, at a time when it strives to recruit outside its declining pool of European followers and struggles to catch up with modernity in the land of televangelism, can’t only be a good thing.
So now the only question is: what to do in 2015?