If you had ambitious plans to attend the Pope’s historic speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, you’re out of luck.
According to a report by St. Louis Today, free tickets for Pope Francis’ historic speech on religious freedom, immigration, and the European migrant crisis are no longer available. Archdiocese of Philadelphia officials say the 10,000 complimentary passes for the Papal visit on September 26 sold out in two minutes when they were made available on a first-come-first-served basis.
Event organizers said free tickets for the Pope’s remarks at Independence National Historic Park went live at noon. By 12:02 p.m., the free tickets were depleted.
As of this writing, tickets are being hosted online by sites like eBay from $150.00 to $1,799.00. Officials are aware of reports that some people are selling the tickets for profit. While Catholic clergy do not sanction the acts, there no effective methods of redress.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) September 8, 2015
According to USCCB (United States Conference of Bishops), Pope Benedict XVI was the last Pontiff to visit America. He traveled to Washington and New York in April of 2008. Francis’ Papal visit to Philly will mark the fourth time a Pope has set foot on American soil in an official capacity.
Francis addressed the world during a recent Sunday address, according to a previous Inquisitr report. Then, he implored Catholic and religious entities across Europe to do more to resolve the migrant crisis affecting thousands of Middle Easterners from war-torn countries.
“Facing the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees — fleeing death by war and famine, and journeying towards the hope of life — the Gospel calls, asking of us to be close to the smallest and forsaken. To give them a concrete hope. And not just to tell them: ‘Have courage, be patient!'”
France and Germany have pledged to increase efforts to house desperate refugees forced from their homes in Syria, Iraq, and other neighboring countries. Nevertheless, global critics say the response from the European Union lacks a concerted effort.
It’s unclear if Pope Francis will address the developments in Kentucky over a county clerk’s refusal to grant marriage to same-sex couples. As mentioned before, a portion of his remarks will touch on religious freedom.
On the free tickets being sold for enormous profit, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter didn’t mince his words about the reports of online sales and auctions. Nutter, who grew up in the area where the event is being held, called the acts “trifling.”
The Archdiocese hoped to distribute the majority of the free tickets to Catholic parishes with large immigrant communities. The focus was to target a diverse cross-section of parishioners to hear the Pope’s remarks during his visit. And, while more tickets were made available Wednesday for those who want to “be within a few blocks of Papal events on September 26 and 27 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway,” it’s unclear if they too were snapped up for online sales.
[Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images]