(See Zeg's cartoon and commentary on the Leftist protests against the Pope here)
For five days it will stand as the biggest religious festival Australia has seen: 4000 priests, 418 bishops, 26 cardinals and more than 150,000 pilgrims celebrating mass together on the Sydney harbour foreshore. Catholics from around the world yesterday transformed a long-dormant section of Sydney's docks into a sea of waving national flags, cheering, singing and crying young pilgrims. They gathered to hear the leader of the Catholic Church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, celebrate mass as the sun set on a magnificent winter's day.
Although record-breaking, their number will be dwarfed by the expected 500,000-strong congregation who will attend the papal mass on Sunday at Randwick racecourse, in Sydney's east.
Kevin Rudd welcomed the pilgrims in several languages, and with a broad Australian "G'day". "Too often in the history of the world, when young people travel in great number to other parts of the world, they do so in the cause of war, but you here today are here as pilgrims of peace," the Prime Minister said.
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