The executive director of World Youth Day Madrid 2011, Yago de la Cierva, recently stated that “nobody should be bothered” by a group of young people gathering for a festival and paying for it out of their own pockets.
In an interview with Europa Press, De la Cierva said some of the criticism of World Youth Day “has been based on incomplete or biased information.” “It shouldn’t bother anybody that a group of young people use their own money organize a festival in which they aren’t going to be disparaging anyone.”
“Either it’s a lack of information or rancid prejudice,” he stated.
De la Cierva said the event is a “great international festival” that can help “improve the situation for young people.” While many people think religion is a “negative factor,” young people see it as “something positive that well help them to be better.”
Regarding protests against the Pope planned to take place the day before his arrival in Madrid, De la Cierva said Spain is “a free and democratic country” where freedom of expression is allowed within the limits of “public order and respect for persons.”
De la Cierva said the final cost of the event has not yet been determined, but that nearly 5,000 new registration forms are coming in each day. “This means more television screens, more showers and more food.” “We are adjusting the expenses according to the number of people who register to attend,” he said.
De la Cierva noted that World Youth Day Madrid has broken all the records of previous World Youth Days for number of registrants with just two weeks to go until activities begin. The president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, said more than 420,000 young people have already signed up.