Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan has expressed his outrage at scalpers selling free tickets to Pope Francis’ Central Park procession, referring to the profit-making scam as “contrary to the spirit of the Pope’s visit.”
Last Thursday, September 10, 80,000 tickets were made available and distributed to New York residents through a city-sponsored lottery to attend the papal procession later this month. Soon after lucky ticket-winners were notified. However, the free tickets began to appear on websites such as eBay and Craigslist with price tags ranging between a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars despite the city outlining that the tickets would not be sold.
“Tickets for events with Pope Francis are distributed free for a reason—to enable as many New Yorkers as possible, including those of modest means, to be able to participate in the Holy Father’s visit to New York,” Cardinal Dolan said in a statement.
“To attempt to resell the tickets and profit from his time in New York goes against everything Pope Francis stands for.”
The New York Mayor's office has revealed that they are working in conjunction with the United States Secret Service to put a stop to the sale of tickets online. eBay and Craigslist have removed any posts selling the tickets, although it is believed that more has to be done to prevent scalpers from making a profit from the Pope’s visit.
“Craigslist and eBay have been responsive and continue to remove posts quickly,” said Monica Klein, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office.
Democratic Senator of New York, Chuck Schumer commended the work of eBay so far, although he felt that Craigslist needed to be tougher in order to eradicate all scalpers selling procession tickets. Schumer also addressed those selling tickets from the free lottery, calling on them to question their actions before they try to sell online.
“Look deep into your heart,” Schumer said, asking them to reconsider.
Both Senator Daniel L. Squadron and Assemblyman Michael J. Cusick have used this latest case of extortion from scalpers to highlight the need for better legislation to deal the further sale of tickets at high prices online, asking state legislators to introduce a law banning such sales.
Tickets to see Pope Francis are being resold for as much as $600—and the Catholic church is not happy about it http://t.co/zQ6iK8q7si— Newsweek (@Newsweek) September 14, 2015
Pope Francis will make his first visit to New York between September 24 and 26, as part of his US tour following a trip to Washington D.C.
His flying visit to the city will include mass in Madison Square Garden, a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and an address to the United Nations General Assembly.
The procession in question will take place through Central Park on September 25.
Also on this day, Madison Square Garden will host as pre-Papal Mass performance featuring acts such as Jennifer Hudson, Gloria Estefan, Harry Connick, Jr., Kelli O’Hara, Norm Lewis, and appearances by Martin Sheen, Rosanna Scotto. “A Journey of Faith” will entail an afternoon of prayer, reflections, and devotional music for parishioners ahead of the Mass offered by His Holiness, Pope Francis.