Pope Francis shows a free ticket during his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on Jan. 11, 2017. RNS photo/courtesy Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters

Pope Francis: Beware of 'criminals' selling scalper tickets for general audience

By  Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
  • January 11, 2017

ROME – Pope Francis warned thousands of pilgrims to be wary of criminals seeking to sell tickets to his weekly Vatican audience, which is always free.

“I have to tell you something that I’d prefer not to say, but I have to say it,” the pope said during his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday (Jan. 11).

“Be careful. This is free. You come here without paying because this is home to all,” he told an applauding crowd. “Whoever tells you to pay is deceiving you; they are criminals.”

Tickets to the pope’s audience include wording, printed in six languages, indicating they are free.

Francis said people can become confused in seeking security and false hope offered by “worldly idols” such as money, power or physical beauty.

On Wednesday, he also referred to his years as a cleric and archbishop of Buenos Aires. The Argentine pontiff told the story of a beautiful woman who had bragged about her beauty and had an abortion because she wanted to protect her figure. He said many people “confuse the mind and heart.”

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