Cardinal, NY officials condemn scalping of tickets to see Pope Francis

Nina Pineda Image
Monday, September 14, 2015
Cardinal, NY officials condemn scalping of tickets to see Pope Francis
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Nina Pineda has the details

NEW YORK (WABC) -- At mass on Monday, the devout were downright dismayed to learn scalpers are selling the Pope for profit.

"The Pope is a man for the people, how is that we are turning around and profiting from that?" said parishioner Julie Swiecicki.

Passes to get a peep at the Papal procession in Central Park are advertised all over the internet - one seller on Craigslist wants $600 for two.

A posting saying "DON'T MISS IT" is seeking a thousand dollars for a pair of tickets which were all given away for free.

"That really is against everything Pope Francis stands for," says Joe Zwilling of the Archdiocese of New York.

The leader of Catholics worldwide has often sounded off about inequality and the evil of those who are obsessed with money.

"It's not just for the rich or for the well-to-do or the rich - he wants people of modest means. That's why tickets are always free," Zwilling adds.

Forty thousand free pairs of tickets to see the Pope ride through Central Park on September 25th are being distributed by the city. In a security briefing on Monday, the mayor said his office is working with Craigslist and Ebay to inhibit the selling of any pope passes.

"It's disgusting that anyone would take a free ticket and try to resell it - let's start with some basic - no one should do it, no one should buy such a ticket," says Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The first batch of emails with simple PDF attachments informing lottery winners went out last week. One seller posted his letter online charging one million for his pair, but recanting it in the ad, saying he'd take the best offer, or a full time job in exchange for his tickets.

"They mailed me a ticket - I got a ticket," said Cathy Day.

Day is one of the lucky lottery winners. She says that she would never sell her ticket.

"It's priceless - totally priceless," she says.

There is always a risk buying anything online from a stranger. Those tickets can be emailed to multiple buyers, and you could pay for tickets that won't get you in the gate if the barcodes have already been scanned. Also, it is important to keep copies of your tickets off social media - you don't want anyone to steal your code off Facebook, and snatch your chance to see the Pope in person.