Michael Nutter: Those Pope Maps You Saw Aren’t the Real Deal

"Little people who have little pieces of information will try to put out what they have … in an effort to make themselves larger," he said.

Pope Francis | neneo / Shutterstock.com.  Mayor Nutter | Jeff Fusco

Pope Francis | neneo / Shutterstock.com. Mayor Nutter | Jeff Fusco

Did you see any of the maps that circulated the Internet over the last few days supposedly showing the “security perimeter” that officials will erect during Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in September?

Banish them from your mind, Mayor Michael Nutter said at a press conference Monday. They’re not the real deal, he said.

“There has been some media speculation over the weekend regarding some maps that allegedly show a security perimeter for the visit of Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Families,” said Nutter. “I want to be very, very clear with all of you. No official security perimeter has been announced or fully and finally determined.”

Though he didn’t name names, he had harsh words for the news media that reported on maps: “Speculative reporting on this map performs absolutely no legitimate function except a false and/or misleading picture for the public.”

Oh, that wasn’t all. “At times, little people who have little pieces of information will try to put out what they have, what they think they have, in an effort to make themselves larger than they might be,” said Nutter. “It’s unfortunate. It can create an environment where folks might have less confidence than they should.”

Nutter said officials will release additional information about the pope’s trip next week, though he declined to say whether the announcement would pertain to traffic, security or other matters.

Details about the pope’s trip have been leaking out in bits and pieces. Last week, the Philadelphia Parking Authority said that a “significant security perimeter” would stretch from Girard Avenue to South Street, and that there would be no SEPTA or rail service in Center City. Nutter said Monday that some of the statements by the PPA were inaccurate, though he declined to say what specifically was wrong.

A consultant for the World Meeting of Families also said recently that a security perimeter would actually be bigger than the PPA said it would be.

The haphazard way in which information has come out has led some to worry about the handling of the event. Nutter said on Monday that officials are vigorously preparing to make all the necessary arrangements for the pope’s visit.

“Philadelphia hosts large events, big events all the time,” he said. “There is certainly nothing to be fearful about. This is going to be a tremendous, wonderful, joyful, spiritual event, which should be joyfully and eagerly anticipated.”

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