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Australia: Pope visit boosts sex industry

Pope mobile: Benedict arrived in Australia
Pope mobile: Benedict arrived in Australia

As the Pope touches down in Darwin, Sydney's sex industry is ready for the big boom. Brothels have announced special "papal visit packages" for the 125,000 foreign visitors who come to Sydney for the World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations this week. Bordellos and sex shops across the city are expecting sensational turnovers. Many establishments have recruited extra staff to cope with the expected rush demand for sexual favours during the event. Some pride themselves on being able to welcome their pious international clientele in a wide range of languages with sex workers speaking French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Arabic, Thai, Korean, Nepalese and Mandarin. The "Xclusive Gentlemen's Club" offers 10-per-cent discount to those with accreditation as official WYD visitors. As one of the biggest houses near Randwick Racecourse, the club expects to benefit from its proximity to the venue of the Pope’s final open air mass which is expected to attract half a million of pilgrims. The high expectations of the "Forbidden Fruit industry" are based on solid experience. When the World Council of Churches had their congress in Canberra back in the 1990s, we enjoyed our best business period ever, said a spokesperson of Australia’s adult industry group Eros Association.

When religious mass events are in full swing, sex seems to be in the air. After the WYD 2000 in Rome had closed its weeklong celebrations with Pope John Paul II’s open air mass in the Tor Vergata field, rubbish collectors discovered the next day thousands of used condoms in the debris of the festival ground. Media reports showed images of the find, but the Vatican angrily dismissed them as fabrications. Critics of the Vatican's doctrinal stance against birth control, extra-marital sex and the “grave sin” of contraception, however, never stopped mocking about it. They say it reveals that young Catholics have a blithe disregard for the Vatican’s reactionary teachings – which is indeed excellent news if correct.