Say Nope to the Pope denies trying to stop people attending Dublin Mass

Taoiseach’s criticism based on ‘false facts and inaccurate jabber published in the papers’

 Pope Francis  greeting Pope emeritus Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis greeting Pope emeritus Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 

The Say Nope to the Pope campaign has denied trying to prevent people from attending the papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park next month by block-booking tickets.

“It was never our intent to stand in the way of someone attending this event,” the organisers of the group said in a statement on Facebook. “We have not taken anyone’s ticket away from them and we are not trying to stop anyone practicing their religion.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described their campaign as “mean spirited, petty and not an official form of protest.”

What they described as the “outrage” over them stopping people going to the Mass “is just not valid whatsoever and as such the argument has been made redundant. It is that simple.”

Describing themselves as “the two administrators who created the page ‘Say Nope To The Pope’,” which they claim now has the support of over 6,300 people, they continued: “We consider this matter closed and any more accusations comments or concerns made relating to the depriving citizens of their choice will be redirected here.”

In response to the Taoiseach’s comments, they said it might be the case if it involved “a protest in which members of the public deliberately took the opportunity to secure free tickets in an attempt to stop large groups attending an event purely as a conflict of interest”.

But their campaign “was never about that.”

They obtained tickets “to which we are entitled” and it was “our intention to deliberately and actively not attend this event by having our absence as a form of peaceful and silent protest in the hopes that it will demonsrate our non-allegiance to the Pope and the Catholic Church and our support and solidarity with any and all victims affected by this organisation.”

They felt that “mean spirited and petty” was not “an appropriate description for a peaceful and silent protest” against such an institution.

They imagained “that if Leo is now better informed” he might provide “a more accurate description of who we are” rather than an opinion based on “the disapproving false facts and inaccurate jabber published in the papers.”

Nor were they planning to bin tickets for the papal Mass. “We are deliberately not using the tickets and have not stated they would or should be ‘binned’, burned, torn up or otherwise.”

This was out of consideration for the “the environment” as well as keeping “our island and Earth in mind.”

There are just 20,000 tickets left for the Mass. All tickets for other events in Ireland he will take part in on August 25th and 26th are gone.

So too are all tickets for the World Meeting of Families pastoral congress at the RDS on August 22nd, 23rd, and 24th next.