Melbourne, July 11 : A national sexual health group's decision to hand out condoms to World Youth Day pilgrims will add comedy to the week of celebrations, according to the bishop in charge of organising the event.
Despite not having permission from the event's organisers, Marie Stopes International said that it would distribute condoms and sexual health advice to all registered young people on request to promote safe sex among the pilgrims.
According to World Youth Day co-ordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher, distribution of the condoms would add a bit of humour to the event.
However, he hoped that the group would also respect the pilgrims' beliefs.
"It will probably be part of the comedy at times," News.com.au quoted him, as saying
A protest group, the NoToPope Coalition, is also planning to distribute condoms to pilgrims as they walk through Sydney's eastern suburbs on July 19.
Fisher also spoke in favour of the right of people to protest the event and said heavy-handed policing should not be necessary.
"It's a very open question whether such laws are necessary, given the powers the police already have," he said.
"The laws are a matter for government ... (but) we've said we don't think there'll be any need for fines or police action. I think our protesters, if there are any, are going to be very peaceable," he added.
Fisher said the hostile reception some Sydneysiders were giving the World Youth Day event was confusing to pilgrims.
"It's a pity that sometimes there's been a lot of negativity in the air - some of our pilgrims are coming saying, What's going on here? This is the most wonderful thing for your country and for your church, they should be happy like we are,'" he said.
Rachel Evans, World Youth Day activist and her NoToPope Coalition associate Amber Pike are taking the New South Wales Government to court over the controversial laws prohibiting 'annoyance' and are urging people to reclaim their right to protest.