Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington were invited to join with 4,000 of their fellow Catholics in a celebration of freedom event as part of the campaign against the HHS mandate on insurance companies to pay for contraceptives when large employers do not. The Archdiocese spent tens of thousands of dollars to rent the Smith Center at George Washington University to hold the 4,000 person rally. Paid television and radio ads were purchased. Color printed flyers were included in the parish bulletins to reach out to the 600,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese as well as those in neighboring Arlington. Bus rental, video production, speaker fees and travel costs could push the total costs to well over $100,000.
Yet by the event, the Archdiocese was forced to admit it did not make any more than half the expected turnout. Even the anti-Obama EWTN reported the crowd at a mere one thousand. Unoccupied seats ringed the auditorium.
The Archdiocese has lowered the cone of silence as to the exact costs of the event and the reasons why the expected attendance failed to materialize. It would however, be a fair guess that the Archdiocese spent over $100 per attendee. Truth be known, while not a fan of the Fortnight phoniness, if they had just offered me a C-note in cash to go there, I would have accepted.
Next time, Cardinal Wuerl, just pay people to show up. It will be cheaper.
(Stock photo used above since the Archdiocese is not providing any of the flop).