The Say Nope to the Pope ticket campaign has garnered support from thousands of people looking to protest against the Pope’s visit to Dublin this weekend.
The Facebook group, which has about 9,000 members, claims to be a “silent and peaceful protest” against the mass. It encourages those who disagree with the papal trip to register for tickets without any intention of attending.
The Guardian reports that Mary Coll applied for two of the free tickets, but will not be using them.
“This is my protest, not to go,” she said. She said she will instead attend a vigil at the site of a mass grave discovered last year at a former Catholic church mother-and-baby home. It contained the remains of up to 800 infants.
Michael Stewart, one of the organisers, said, according to the Guardian, that the idea resonated with people “because it’s an effective form of protest”.
He added: “As Irish citizens, we were all entitled to a ticket to the papal mass if we wished. The taxpayer was funding this visit regardless of their faith, and that was the icing on the cake for many.”
Half a million tickets were available to the public for the mass, with a further 45,000 for the papal visit to the Marian shrine in Knock.
“Why shouldn’t [people] claim their ticket and use it how they see fit?” Stewart said. “It seems that actively and deliberately not using their ticket was an appropriate option while we stand in solidarity with the excessive number of victims from this atrocious organisation.”
However not everyone agrees with this sentiment. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar called the campaign “petty and mean-spirited.”
Say Nope to the Pope has separated itself from those who applied for large blocks of tickets, saying its aim was to obtain tickets “to which we are entitled” in a “peaceful, silent and respectful protest against one of the world’s largest corrupt organisations”.
The campaign is urging its supporters to join survivors of clerical abuse for vigils on Sunday at the time of the mass.