Friday, July 11, 2014

SPORT, RELIGION AND POLITICS MEET AT THE WORLD CUP

Msgr. Melchor Sanchez, undersecretary at the Pontifical Council for Culture, holds a sign with the hashtag in front of the Vatican. Credit: Pontifical Council for Culture.
The Pontifical Council for Culture launched an effort designed to unite the world in asking for peace in warring countries by observing a moment of silence during the final game of the World Cup. 

“Sports were born around religious festivities. Sporting events were moments of peace when wars ceased, as for the Olympic truce,” Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda said July 10 for the launch of the campaign.

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

The President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi took to social media to promote the initiative heading into the weekend. @cardinalravasi tweeted, “A still, small voice of silence” (1 Kings 19,12) #PAUSEforPeace #WorldCup2014

Read more at: http://www.ucanews.com/news/vatican-launches-world-cup-final-pause-for-peace-appeal/71390

Now anyone with a name like  Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda  has to be worth a google search.It turns out that "Mellie" is quite a sporty pinup boy around the Vatican. He even donned some gear for the launch of the first Vatican Cricket team last year.

The Australian presence at the Vatican is bigger than George Pell in a Cappa Magna. St Peter's Cricket team is the dream child of John McCarthy, Australian Ambassador to the Vatican. According to the media release

.......... the St. Peter’s Cricket Club will field a team to play the Church of England at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London sometime next fall.
The aim is to boost interfaith dialogue, given cricket’s immense popularity in largely non-Roman Catholic India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It would be a “very special occasion” if seminarians from Rome’s pontifical universities might one day play students at Muslim or Hindu religious schools on the subcontinent, he said.
The initiative also is aimed at educating Italy, the Vatican and even Pope Francis “there is some sport other than football,” Mr. McCarthy said before passing around a tray of cucumber tea sandwiches, a mainstay of cricket events.
The club is expected to draw on 250-300 students and priests at the Vatican and pontifical universities around Rome where cricket is already being played informally; from these individual teams a Vatican one would be selected and fielded as early as the spring.

I wonder if the Vatican Cricket Team will get to bowl a maiden over?

Sport religion and politics are usually off limits at your friendly knitting club, however this is the year that the goalposts have shifted and everyone is in on the conversation.

The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council is publishing its 2014 statement in September titled: 2014-2015: A Crown for Australia 

2014-15-SJS-tempStriving for the best in our sporting nation

In a covering letter from Archbishop Densi Hart, the Australian Bishops acknowledge both the blessings and what they describe as the "darker side of sport: "violence on and off the field, abuse of drugs and alcohol,racism, sexism and commercial exploitation." It's a pretty good list although I wonder why they couldn't include homophobia as well?

So come September and we head off to the Grand Final with Geelong taking on whoever gets to meet us (LOL) we might include this statement in our ipad list of good reading.

I haven't watched the World Cup much but the invitation to pause for peace during the game is a good initiative which I hope gets plenty of support and commitment.

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