This weekend, Pope Francis became the fourth leader of the Catholic Church to visit the United States, making stops in Washington, D.C.; New York; and Philadelphia. Papal visits draw massive crowds which can be difficult for a city’s infrastructure and bank account to bear.


Organizations such as World Meeting of Families and the federal government will help with the expenses incurred in each city. The federal government sets aside $4.5 million annually for national security events, such as papal visits. However, it is more than likely that some of the cost will still be incurred by taxpayers.


The manpower needed for crowd management, vehicle control, and crisis response is incredible. Fortune Magazine reported that the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, Capitol Police, Coast Guard, Pentagon, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will all be assisting local police departments in each of the Pope’s three stops.


According to the New York Police Department, they used approximately 37 miles of barriers, 1,200 traffic cones, 19 barrier trucks, and 818 tons of concrete blocks for the papal visit.



New York and New Jersey spent approximately $100,000 in police overtime for President Obama’s last visit to New York, but the papal visit is expected to exceed that by a significant amount. Pope Francis is extremely popular worldwide and has drawn massive crowds in almost every city he has visited.


Former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow told the Washington Post, “they’re standing up one of the largest security programs for an individual in U.S. history over three cities.”


The last papal visit to the United States was in 2008 when Pope Benedict XVI visited New York. The event cost the city over $6 million.


Should the federal government cover the entire cost of the papal visit? Should the Vatican be more responsible for the Pope’s security? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4