The Australian Catholic Church and the public sphere: World youth day 2008

Nicholas Halter*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    World Youth Day 2008 was the largest public religious gathering in Australian history, which proudly celebrated Catholicism in the streets of Sydney. This article argues that the organization and outcomes of World Youth Day 2008 were significantly shaped by the perceptions of Catholic Church leaders and officials who were determined to present the Catholic Church as a powerful opponent of the trend toward secularization. The organizers of World Youth Day 2008 achieved significant success in overcoming the legacy of sectarianism, the fears of secularization, the problems of internal division and scandal, and distrust and suspicion in the media prior to the event. The event showed that the Catholic Church was very capable of negotiating the Australian public sphere, and successfully marketed an energized and inclusive brand of Catholicism to the broader public.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)261-282
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Religious History
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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