If you don’t have a ticket, how easy will it be to see Pope Francis? Take a long look at the photo above.
On Wednesday, we learned that despite the Papal mass in three weeks being billed as an open event, a significant portion of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be open only to “ticket-holders” — and these tickets aren’t easy to get.
So you’re SOL if you want a close seat to see the Papal mass and are not a local Catholic, and even in those cases, tickets may be hard to come by. Tickets within the cordoned off area stretching from the Art Museum to 20th street are being distributed by the World Meeting of Families to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s 219 parishes.
In addition, surrounding dioceses will receive allotments of tickets. It’s unclear how many of those will be distributed to the parishes, and how the archdiocese will go about distributing tickets from there. Perhaps not surprisingly right before the Labor Day holiday, the archdiocese didn’t respond to a request for clarification Thursday.
At least according to the map released by the Secret Service, more than half of the Parkway is sectioned off for ticket-holders. If you still want to go see the Pope, the above photo is the closest view you can get (the arrow points to where Pope Francis will conduct mass from at Eakins Oval).
That’s what you’ll see if you essentially get to the Parkway first for the best of the nosebleed seats. Many people will be back further — here’s the view from LOVE Park:
But you’ll be able to watch it on screens, at least. Some 40 jumbotrons will be placed throughout the city of Philadelphia during the Papal mass (unclear where) and Pope Francis is also expected to take a ride down the Parkway toward City Hall as part of his motorcade, so you may be able to catch a glimpse of him then.
Since news dropped yesterday that tickets (they’re free) would be needed for a certain portion of the Parkway, the World Meeting of Families and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have worked to alleviate concerns that the system would limit public participation in the events.
“These plans were put in place to ensure that representatives representing the vibrant life and ongoing work of the Archdiocese were part of these joyful events,” Donna Crilley Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families, said in a statement. “It is important to be clear that the announcement of limited ticketing does not limit participation in these events in any way. There is plenty of room for all who wish to attend.”
The Archdiocese even went so far as to post a second press release to its website that claimed that 85 percent of the Parkway will be open to the public. But when calculated by square footage, the ticketed (red) portion takes up approximately 54 percent of the Parkway if it’s based on the Secret Service’s definition.
If the ticketed portion of the Parkway was truly only 15 percent of the entire space where people will be able to stand, the ticketed portion would look more like this:
And if the ticketed portion of the Parkway was only 15 percent of the Parkway, then the entire Parkway would stretch to Pennsport and look something like this:
We’ll update if the Archdiocese responds with information on how it defines the Parkway.