If you were thinking about selling or buying any tickets for Pope Benedict XVI’s two masses, to be celebrated in Washington DC and New York City this week, you might want to think twice. The events are being held under the tightest of security, ensuring that scalped tickets will be unable to gain access to the high profile masses.

This visit to America is the first by Benedict since he assumed the papacy in 2005, and has sparked great interest for Catholics throughout the country. Tickets to his two masses were released to churches and other Catholic groups by the Vatican, offered free of charge to those who asked for them. Yet, as with most popular events, there weren’t enough tickets to go around, which has resulted in mad searches throughout the internet to snap up extra tickets. Through a search of several popular ticket resale sites, it is clear that there are far more people looking for tickets than actual tickets available, which is almost certainly a reflection of the high security instigated by the Vatican for this papal visit.

When a ticket is swiped for entry into either Robert F. Kennedy Stadium or Yankee Stadium, the barcode of the ticket will immediately access information about the ticket holder including name, address, and birth date. The ticket holder will be required to show a valid state or nationally issued I.D. card confirming that they are the individual the ticket was issued to. Such a stringent ticket policy makes it nearly impossible for tickets to be exchanged or resold.

There is also a moral issue to the reselling of Pope tickets, for those who are inclined to follow Catholic Church teachings. The Archdiocese of Washington D.C. has released statements claiming that scalping tickets is not only illegal, but it is considered a sin. Grouping the reselling of tickets to the two masses as “simony,” which refers to spiritual trafficking of any kind and, according to Dante, will land you in the eighth circle of hell. The spiritual illegality of reselling the tickets comes from the idea that a mass is a free event of worship and money should play no part in the ability of one to attend such a celebration or in their ability to attain salvation as offered by the mass.

TFL and ATBS for ticketing professionals

Whether one is worried about their eternal soul or the strict ticket holder identification policy at the two masses, it certainly looks as if buying resold or scalped tickets to either event would me more trouble than it is worth.

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(The image accompanying this story is from Ecorazzi.com)