But World Youth Day organizers, who had 100,000 people from more than 115 countries registered by the end of January, say it's the church's message that doesn't get heard enough by young people.
"The message they will hear at World Youth Day is the one they would not normally hear," said Paul Kilbertus, the event's communications director.
"This event is not for people who live in isolation from the world."
He said youth hear anti-Catholic messages such as `use condoms' every day in the media and on television, even in Catholic strongholds like South and Central America.
"If anything, we are putting forward a counter-cultural message that people will not normally hear."
And, affirming our sense of the IQ of the "alternative" crowd, one of them declares, in the face of half a million Catholic kids descending on Toronto, that
Reformers say that if the church changed some of its traditional stances to accommodate an ever-changing world, more people would come back into the fold