News

Game of 2 popes: Vatican plays down World Cup rivalry

Game of 2 popes: Vatican plays down World Cup rivalry

THE POPE:Pope Francis waves during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican on July 6. Photo: Reuters/Tony Gentile

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry between Argentine Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict, a German.

In response to the intense media speculation about whether they would watch the game together, which it called “amusing,” the Vatican called on soccer fans to observe a “pause for peace” before Sunday’s final to remember victims of war and poverty.

A senior Vatican official who works with both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict told Reuters that no decision had been taken yet on how each of the two would spend Sunday night.

Benedict, the source pointed out, is not a soccer fan, but added: “Let’s see. The current situation is unique”.

The Vatican’s spokesman said he did not believe Benedict, now 87 and living his retirement in seclusion in an ex-convent in the Vatican, would watch the match, because of the late hour

Francis, the Latin American pope, is most definitely a soccer fan.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was a keen supporter of the San Lorenzo soccer club. He is an honorary member of the club nicknamed the Saints of Boedo for the neighborhood where they were founded by a group of young men that included a priest in 1908.

The Vatican’s Council for Culture which has sports as part of its brief, called the pre-match speculation “amusing and entertaining” but said it was calling for a moment of silence on Sunday for “thinking about important things” such as peace.

“Let’s have a pause for peace,” said Monsignor Melcher Sanchez de Tosca y Alameda, the council’s undersecretary, announcing a social media hashtag #PAUSEforPeace.

Sanchez referred to the tradition in ancient Greece to stop all conflicts during the Olympic games.

“Why not for the World Cup? Why not a pause, a moment of silence, a truce for peace?” he said.

A spokesman for the council said it would be up to each fan, each team and each organization, including soccer governing body FIFA, if, how and when they wanted to observe a moment of “silence or reflection or pause” to remember those suffering.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 22

Fresh
beachboys2

A look back at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Sports

World Series: Bumgarner, Pence lead Giants over Royals in Game 1

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner talks to the media before baseball practice Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City Royals will host the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series on Oct. 21.

The San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1 in Tuesday night's World Series opener.

in Sports

AP sources: Rice’s appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6

Photo: Associated Press

Two people familiar with the situation say a hearing on Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension will be held Nov. 5 and 6.

in Sports

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

Dallas Cowboys Michael Sam walks on the field before the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Arlington, Texas.

The Dallas Cowboys have released Michael Sam from the practice squad, another setback as the NFL's first openly gay player .

in Sports

Durant struggling to deal with injury

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant answers questions at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Durant said he’s been antsy since finding out he will miss the early part of the season with a Jones fracture in his right foot. The reigning NBA MVP spoke to the media Tuesday morning for the first time since the injury.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant says he has been antsy since finding out he will miss the early part of the season with a broken bone in his right foot.

Bellingham Traffic