Sunday, February 25, 2007

"The Mother of the Church wants a goal!"

From the AP:

The fans were pious. The players bound for glory. And the victory? A miracle. Priests and seminarians from several soccer-loving countries took to a field near the looming dome of St. Peter's Basilica Saturday for the first match of the Clericus Cup, a tournament fielding 16 teams from Catholic institutes in Rome.

"You are playing in view of St. Peter's cupola, so behave well," admonished Cardinal Pio Laghi before giving the official kickoff at a small arena on a hill overlooking the Vatican.

In Italy soccer is a hallowed game, taken almost as seriously as Catholicism, and the players were all business once the whistle was blown.

Amid screams from the coaches, pious slogans from the small crowd and T-shirts invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary, a motley crew of Latin Americans, Africans and Asians from the Collegio Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church College) took on an all-Brazilian team fielded by the Gregorian University.

In a miraculous upset, the young Mater Ecclesiae players trounced the more experienced but portly Brazilians 6-0 as their fans chanted: "The Mother of the Church wants a goal!"

Full article.

I imagine that there are plenty of priests in Europe who are pretty good soccer players, soccer being to Europe what baseball is to America. I especially appreciated this line from a seminarian:
The tournament is also a second chance for many clergymen who left promising soccer careers to follow their spiritual calling, said Marco Rosales, a Mexican seminarian who coaches the Mater Ecclesiae team.

"Some on the team had a chance to play professionally, but the Lord called them to His team," he said.
Of course, everyone knows that the Vatican's Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, is a huge soccer fan, even sitting up in the booth and doing commentary for a few games:

It would amuse me to see one of our big-time cardinals calling a baseball game... They would probably not be able to restrain their legitimate biases. I don't see Cardinal O'Malley rooting for anybody but the Bo Sox...

No comments:

Post a Comment