Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Scalping Papal Mass Tickets is a Sin."

The Archdiocese of Washington said scalping the passes is not only illegal, but a sin. Unfortunately, that won't deter people from trying to get them. Ben Meyerson of the Capital News Service has an in-depth article on the subject which, while covering those less inclined to heed the Archdiocese' ruling, explains the reasoning for the prohibition on scalping:

Donald Powell, a retiree living in Laurel, said he was looking for tickets so his mother-in-law -- visiting from the Philippines -- could attend the Mass with his wife. He saw no problem paying for tickets, as long as he knew the money was going to good cause.

"If somebody wants to see him bad enough, and they would pay some money, I don't think it's bad or outrageous," Powell said. "As long as it's going to a charity, I see no problem with that at all."

But Susan Gibbs, communications director for the Archdiocese of Washington, said selling the tickets is against church law.

A Roman Catholic Church Mass is considered a sacrament, she said, and scalping the passes is equivalent to selling a sacrament, which is forbidden.

Passes are also the nontransferable property of the archdiocese. If ticket holders can't use them, they should tell their source for the pass, she said.

There's a designated process for assigning unneeded tickets, she said.

"You need to go talk to your pastor -- your parish only got, you know, 20 tickets, because they're meant for other parishioners, not anyone in the United States," she said.

If the archdiocese sees a seat or section number on sale, it can cancel that ticket or flag a row for monitoring. Mass attendees must show identification at the park's front gate.

"Every ticket is seat-specific and bar coded," she said "We should be able to go back to the parish that gave out the tickets and know who's supposed to be in that section."