Catholics in England will have to pay to attend some events during Pope Benedict XVI’s Sept. 16-19 trip to Scotland and England, according to reports in our client paper in London, the Catholic Herald. Catholics will pay 25 pounds ($39) to attend the beatification Mass at Birmingham’s Cofton Park Sept. 19, and the 1,000 priests concelebrating also will have to pay. Attendees at the Sept. 18 vigil at London’s Hyde Park will pay 10 pounds. Read the reasoning behind ticket distribution and prices. [Will non-Catholics have a different price?]
In Washington, Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the U.S. bishops’ media relations director [When will she comment on the National Catholic Reporter?] who has been involved in the planning of three papal trips, said no admission was ever charged for the U.S. events.
In Britain, since tickets will be hard to come by, Catholics are being encouraged to line the streets to see Pope Benedict.
A CNS story is one thing, coming as it does from the USA.
But the UK’s best Catholic weekly The Catholic Herald has a good piece. VOTE HERE, but do also visit the Catholic Herald to read and post comments:
Debate: Is it right to charge for papal Masses?
Is it an outrage or a prudent step to avoid weighing the Church down with debt?
Pilgrims attending the three open-air Masses during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain will have to pay as much as £25 (US$39) for the privilege.
The Church insists that pilgrims are not being charged to attend the Masses themselves but to cover transport and other essential costs.
But the announcement has provoked furious reactions, particularly in Scotland. Even Hindus have criticised the decision, saying that no one should be charged to hear the word of God. Others have gone as far as to suggest that it is a form of simony.
Still others argue that charging is simply a necessary and prudent step if the Church is not to plunge into debt as it did after John Paul II’s visit in 1982.
So, is it right to charge for papal Masses?
I put it to you.
Please vote and explain your vote in the combox, below. Pick the best answer.