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Cardinal Dolan, Local Leaders Outraged Over Reported Reselling Of Free Pope Tickets

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Local leaders are condemning the reported reselling of tickets for Pope Francis' upcoming New York City visit.

The city and Archdiocese of New York recently handed out thousands of free tickets for the pope's historic visit at the end of September through a lottery system.

Part of Pope Francis' visit includes a procession through Central Park.

To see a complete schedule of the pope's upcoming visit, click here.

Lottery ticket winners were announced on Friday, and according to published reports, ticket reselling began soon after.

Cardinal Dolan, Local Leaders Outraged Over Reported Reselling Of Free Pope Tickets

On Sunday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Michael Cusick, and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer expressed outrage with the sale of free tickets.

"Tickets for events with Pope Francis are distributed free for a reason, to enable as many New Yorkers as possible, including those of modest means, to be able to participate in the Holy Father's visit to New York," Dolan said. "To attempt to resell the tickets and profit from his time in New York goes against everything Pope Francis stands for."

The officials said tickets for Central Park have reportedly been listed for sale for hundreds of dollars on sites including eBay and Craigslist.

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"To think that any winner who received one of the lottery tickets to see the pope would seek to make a fast buck off of the opportunity is really gut wrenching. I know I stand with the church and the diocese locally in denouncing any efforts to sell these tickets online," Schumer said. "My message to anyone thinking about doing that is to look deep into your heart. If you have a ticket you can't use, do the right thing and let the office who gave it to you know."

Schumer said eBay recently banned the sale of pope tickets on its site, and asked other online marketplaces to follow suit.

Meanwhile Squadron and Cusick highlighted long-pushed state legislation that would prohibit the practice of reselling tickets for more than their face value for charity or not-for-profit events.

"Pope Francis' visit to the city is a chance for us to reflect on our values, not jump on the Internet to sell devotion to the highest bidder," Squadron said. "...In the wake of this most recent, appalling display, I call on my colleagues to join me in saying enough is enough, and put an end to legal profiteering off of charity and not-for-profit events, as our bill does."

"As New York prepares for Pope Francis' historic visit, it is repugnant that ticket resellers and the websites they are listed on have taken this as an opportunity to make a quick buck," said Cusick. "...I am proud to join with Senator Squadron, Cardinal Dolan, and my colleagues who have supported this bill in renewing our push for the reselling of tickets for charity and not-for-profit events to end once and for all."

According to the officials, this is only the latest in a string of similar incidents where tickets for charity events were resold at much higher prices in secondary marketplaces.

In May, tickets for MusiCares MAP Fund's benefit concert -- headlined by Billy Idol and Joan Jett -- were resold for more than $1,250, officials said.


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