The cost of WYD

In Spain, before and during the World Youth Day gathering in Madrid, the secularist critics and enemies of God and His Church and – by most accounts- good taste, claimed that the cost of WYD was extravagant and wasteful and profligate and unfair and … *sputter sputter froth*… just… well… you big Pope poopy-head!

The criticism of the cost of WYD was dopey, but handy.  When we review Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, we recall that making sense isn’t part of the liberal plan.

Keeping in mind that much of the cost of WYD was defrayed by Church groups, this is from CatholicVote:


Furthermore, the two million pilgrims spent a great deal of their own money while in Spain. The head of Madrid’s chamber of commerce estimates that World Youth Day events brought at least 160 million euros (=230 million dollars) into the Spanish economy:

Pilgrims traveling to Madrid spent roughly that sum on transportation, food, lodging, recreation, and souvenirs, said Arturo Fernandez. His report counters complaints that World Youth Day put extra burdens on Spain’s depressed economy.

One civic association in Madrid reported selling 3 million meal tickets to WYD pilgrims, at a profit of €22.5 million ($32 million) for those transactions alone.

Frankly I think that estimate is still low — if the average pilgrim spent $300 while in Spain (that’s getting by pretty cheap) the total windfall to the Spanish economy would be over $600 million.

Plus, nearly all the reports I’ve read which comment on the question note that the pilgrims were particularly neat and tidy. Soccer hooligans trash cities, pilgrims respect them.


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  1. Pelicanus says:

    The same is true of dopey republicans here in the UK. In return for the £200 million revenues from the Queen’s personal property we give her back £60 million, not to mention the untold revenues from excitable tourists from across the pond and elsewhere!

    If the event cost the Spanish state anything, it would be for extra policing to keep the bigoted anti-Catholic mob under control.

    As you say Fr, being liberal doesn’t involve making sense.

  2. benedetta says:

    What? Haters of the Church sow lies, calumny and division? You mean Catholic haters are not actually perfect? Guess we’ve been lookin’ for love in all the wrong places…

  3. digdigby says:

    “Logic? We dun’ need no stinkin’ logic!”

  4. Traductora says:

    I was there, and I can personally attest that Madrid received its investment back many times over. The number of unregistered attendees was almost three times that of registered attendees, some of them (such as myself) adults from other countries, and some of them Spaniards from other parts of Spain. So while many of the youth stayed at Catholic schools, monasteries, and other Church facilities, lots of other people stayed in hotels. Occupancy at this time of year is normally 40%; it was 80% for WYD. So based on that alone, you can project the fact that all these people were running around spending money on meals, clothing, metro tickets, museum entries, etc.

    I should note that municipal services were excellent; Madrid did a wonderful job with everything from the Metro to street cleaning to police and emergency services. In addition, the organizers had enlisted the cooperation of important businesses, such as Corte Ingles (department store), which gave the businesses a bit of publicity and no doubt clientele as well. The museums also had special exhibits, and while many of the exhibits were free, most people then bought a regular general entry. Also, companies like Granda (liturgical arts) and the Narthex Foundation sponsored free tours of churches and historic sites that took the young people to places they would never have gone otherwise. I was chatting with a group of students and one of the kids said that he was thinking now of doing his junior year abroad in Spain…

    In other words, this will have an impact way down the line. Furthermore, the impact on Spain itself of having all these young people from all over the world was incredible. Between the Pope and the kids, the Spanish Church seemed to get a new lease on life. People were proud to be Catholic.

  5. APX says:


    If the event cost the Spanish state anything, it would be for extra policing to keep the bigoted anti-Catholic mob under control.

    I was reading the Prairie Messenger this morning and apparently a portion of them were Catholic! *head scratch*

    I couldn’t see how this would cost them much, if anything, but bringing in extra policing is always expensive.

  6. benedetta says:

    Traductora, Nice to hear that update from someone who was there.

  7. Traductora says:

    @ APX: Most of the “protesters” were members of the 15M (an anarchist/leftist protest group), gay groups and, believe or not, atheist groups. However, there were some who were members of something called “Redes Cristianas” (“Christian Networks”), which would be like Voice of the Faithful or some other dissident group here.

    Also, don’t forget that virtually all Spaniards over the age of about 30 have been baptized in the Church and are technically Catholic. This is changing, since of course younger ones have not been baptized because their parents have stopped practicing. However, that means the press can still refer to the protesters, the majority of whom were over 30, as “Catholics.”

  8. Traductora says:

    @Benedetta It was an incredible event. I think we will be feeling the effects of this for a long time to come. For one thing, vocations: I happened to pass through a 200,000 person gathering of the Neocatecumenales and they were asking young men who were considering the priesthood to come forward…and they got 5,000, who signed up and will go to see the vocations directors in their home parishes or the religious orders of their choice. 3,000 girls came up on the next call and will visit the vocations directors for religious orders in their home countries.

    And this was only a somewhat select group that included in its number both the youth members and a sizeable number of parents and other older adult supporters. There were 50+ booths of religious orders and others at the vocations fair (I wish my diocese had had a booth). Even the Carthusians had a booth, staffed by other people, of course! The literature was flying off the shelves and I think there will be a huge surge in both priests and women religious from this.

  9. Kat says:

    I could easily see a huge cost investment in the cleanup. It was pretty trashy after the big events, but there was not much choice, when you’ve got a million-plus people in one spot and they have the same number of rubbish bins they usually have out on the streets. After Quatro Vientos, it looked like a wasteland of trash. That said, the city was sparkling the day after each event, so the work was there. I would assume the money we all spent (my husband and I alone spent more than 150euro in addition to our travel and registration costs, and we’re cheapskates) covered a lot of that in taxes.

    As an addendum, two Spanish volunteers I chatted with before WYD mentioned that they — Spaniards — tend to be “sucio” about trash in the city. This after I noticed a crushed bag of potato chips lying abandoned on the ground. I was surprised by their confession; compared to some cities I’ve been in, I thought it was a very clean city.

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