Philadelphia Readies for Papal Security Challenge

Philadelphia Readies for Papal Security Challenge

The Pope’s visit to the city will be the largest event in its modern history

According to local news reports, Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia next year will be the largest event in the city’s modern history – and possibly its most daunting security challenge.

The city's police force has been preparing for months, spurred by the potential of the high-profile guest and more than one million people expected to flood the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to see him celebrate Mass on Sept. 27.

The added risks will likely equal one thing: added resources, according to Steven Bucci, a homeland security expert at the Heritage Foundation.

"There will be fighter planes on standby. There will be military assets," he said. "There will be . . . weapons of mass destruction teams, ones that can find and ones that can disarm and ones that can respond."

The city's police force will be joined by a half-dozen other agencies during the week of events, including the Pennsylvania State Police, the Secret Service, the FBI, Vatican City police, Italian police, and the Swiss Guard, the pope's primary security detail.

A spokeswoman from the World Meeting of Families said it was premature to estimate the cost for security - which the group will cover.

About the Author

Matt Holden is an Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media, Inc. He received his MFA and BA in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He currently writes and edits for Occupational Health & Safety magazine, and Security Today.

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