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December 19, 2006

Comments

Francis DS

I think I agree with Jimmy. What we need instead is a global strategic evangelization planning team at the Vatican to map out how we will accomplish the great commission. If that planning team recommends the creation of a Vatican football team, then I am all for it. I'm wishy washy that way.


P.

Google search for the exact phrase "Vatican soccer hooligans" (double quotes must be included) currently returns zero hits. Ditto for the two-word phrase "Vatican hooligans".

Congratulations, Mr. Akin, you may have just invented a new, never-before-used phrase. :)

Rhys

They should focus on what's really important: getting some entrants from the Vatican in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Mr. Flapatap

I think this was just wishful thinking from a metric football fan. It reminds me of an old saying admonishing politicians never to tell a joke because it will become official state policy later in the day.

bill912

If the Church wants a football team, then it should insist that Notre Dame once again become a Catholic university.

Michael S

2 great Bill912 qoutes in one week. I used to despise most of his postings but this one is brilliant as was his qouting the Gospel.

bill912

Thank you, Michael. And some people don't believe in Christmas miracles!

bill912

As Johnny Carson used to say: "I'll keep shooting them out; you pick the ones you like."

A. Williams

This, I think, is an extremely subtle tactic of the devil, a tactic used with incredible effect for the destruction of true Catholic faith and devotion, especially in the U.S. The tactic is so subtle because it is, on-the-surface, so harmless and FUN! However, any DEVOUT catholic who happened to have attended a Catholic Highschool in the US can show how the sports programs, especially American Football programs, are 100 times more influential than any religious program in the school! Religion, in comparison, is on the whole, part of the GEEK culture in Catholic schools, and only varsity sports are given real honor and attention...in all practicality. Because of the nature of the competition, those who don't care to support or be FANATIC for the teams are considered either 'out of it' and 'unsocial', or even traitors. And this can often be the case when one is not really against the recreation of the sport, because in moderation there is nothing wrong with sporting activities, but rather, against all of the adulation, excessive enthusiasm, fighting and gambling, and also the attention bordering idolotry that is often given to these sporting activities in CATHOLIC schools. Where sports (and possibly theater too) occupy virtually ALL of the emotional life of a school, where can one find or foster DEVOTION to Christ..for instance, in contemplative prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, works of evangelization etc.. These are the traditional works and primary objectives of CATHOLIC Schools, that is..works of FAITH, devotion, and evangelization of the Gosple, upon which many of the Saints who helped found the schools, and the Orders who run them (ie. Jesuits, Dominicans etc.)were focused. Furthurmore, now these sports are not only promoting idolotry and excessive fanaticism, but are also involved in enourmous financial deals, betting, corruption..all of which makes the sports even more dangerous for ANY Catholic institution. In this way, sports should be viewed like a DRUG in their potential effects on institions and the members who are part of them. A drug can often be used in small amounts for health purposes, like alcohol for instance. It doesn't make the person taking it crazy! But these institions FOSTER excessive CRAZINESS in sports! They are essentially the ones...SELLING the SPORT DRUG!! Many of these catholic schools make so much money on their athletic programs that they can do NOTHING BUT encourage them, if for nothing else but monetary gain. They are thus promoting more and more fanaticism and sport idolotry in Catholic schools, so that they can make more and more money for the very same schools... all at the expense of CATHOLIC FAITH which is where their priamry attention should be focused.
Now do you all know why any sport associated or promoted by the Vatican is SO dangerous?? Pretty soon the world will only know about the Vatican Cardinals....yes....the Vatican Cardinals soccer team!!! The devil will make them so good and victorious, winning multiple world cups, for instance, that no one will even think about the Church anymore. GO! CARDINALS! will be the new CHANT for the new evangelization!!!!..and the devil will watch all with a very big smile on his face and say to himself: "By golly, I out did myself! this is even better than American football!"

Cajun Nick

Professional sports (specifically football (read: soccer)) teams and religion don't mix.

It's been tried.

Check out the Old Firm - Celtic and Rangers of the Scottish Premier League.

By the way, Go Celtic!

Tim J.

A competitive Vatican soccer team? Like people don't already have enough excsues to hate the Church?

"Bloody Vatican beat Manchester United! Gr-r-r-r!!!!"

What do you think the mascot would be? The Angels? Saints? How about the Supreme Pontiffs? Would the fans wear mitres on their heads and paint themselves red and gold?

Alright for a daydream, I guess, but silly.

Okay, all you cardinals... back to work.

Brian John Schuettler

forget about it...it ain't going to happen.

Realist

"Peter Pencers"? "Peter Pincers"? "Peter Pinchers "? "P & Pers"?

SDG

I'm sure that someone could come up with some nonsense about penetrating the secular culture with the message of Christ, but you know what? That's the job of the laity, not the Vatican. The Vatican's job in such matters is to support and educate the laity so that they can affect the culture for Christ, not to undermine the efforts of Catholic players and fans by starting their own rival franchise. That's the same reason the Church doesn't start it's own political party.

Brilliantly said, Jimmy.

John E

I can just picture a bare-chested fan with mitre and crozier. Not a good idea.

Just the possible headlines make me wince:
"Vatican bows to France"
"Vatican destroys Italy"
"Brawl breaks out at Vatican after questionable decision"

Maybe on Saturday Night Live, but please, not in real life.

Sifu Jones

OK, impending sports crisis over. Please see the following article from CWN entitled "Vatican soccer team not under consideration".

http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=48282

bill912

whew!

Jimmy Akin

“I have more important things to do than managing a soccer team,” the cardinal told a Vatican Radio audience.

Seems to be a lapse in bella figura. Now those who do manage soccer teams will feel dissed.

John

It will almost certainly not happe. It is most likely a joke. And it is almost certainly a bad idea for all the reasons already stated.

However, the idea of the Vatican starting up a pro-soccer team just might have something resembling a rational basis.

First, practicing Catholics in Europe are quickly being transformed into a reviled minority. Just as Notre Dame football became a rallying point for Catholics in the United States during the 1920s, when KKK fueled anti-Catholicism ran rampent, so might a half-decent soccer team be something to boost moral among European Catholics.

Second, to continue with the Notre Dame example: the Fighting Irish in the early twentieth century provided both revenue and prestige to the University of Notre Dame which enabled that school to lead the way among small Catholic colleges in the task of gaining credibility as "real" schools. One hundred years ago, the Catholic education system was at variance enough with the secular universities that their was serious doubt as to whether they should even be accredited as colleges. The football program is what helped lift Notre Dame by the bootstraps into a status beyond being a religiously based vocational school.

In the same way, iys just possible that Crdinal Bertone hopes that a professional soccer team might lend credibility to the Vatican as a political or social influence in the European community.

Jared

Forget soccer (it's a Communist plot anyway ... it's goal being to lull the free world to sleep) I just wanna be on the Vatican Tae Kwon Do team. That'd be awesome.

Ed Peters

bill912 rocked on that one.

The Inquisitor

Wow, the Vatican wants a "football" team- no doubt it will be run by through their Judeo-Masonic banking connections!

That was sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell.

Kris

"Furthurmore, now these sports are not only promoting idolotry and excessive fanaticism, but are also involved in enourmous financial deals, betting, corruption..all of which makes the sports even more dangerous for ANY Catholic institution. In this way, sports should be viewed like a DRUG in their potential effects on institions and the members who are part of them. A drug can often be used in small amounts for health purposes, like alcohol for instance. It doesn't make the person taking it crazy! But these institions FOSTER excessive CRAZINESS in sports!"

How completely out of touch can you be? I'm just out of high school, was a four year varsity letterman and you know what I learned in Catholic school athletics? DISCIPLINE, INTEGRITY, SACRIFICE, ect... I was not taught idolatry, I was not taught that my sport was above my religion.

I'm not sure how long it's been since you've been in high school, but it's been my experience that there are just as many "pagans" that don't play sports as those that do. In fact, the students who were leading rosary groups, starting adoration services (by petitioning the chaplain), fighting the liberal religious curriculum, and sharing messages of chastity and love for Christ among their peers were doing it all on top of football, swimming, and baseball practice.

St. Sebastian, patron of athletes, pray for us.

Esau

I was not taught idolatry...

Come on, Kris!

Come off it!

You know that we, as Catholics, especially give worship to Baal even in our sports! That's why we enjoy sports so much!

Whenever we compete in any of the events like track, basketball, baseball and even water polo, we first perform a human sacrifice in order to satisfy our pagan god!

In fact, even when we watch a Lakers game, we toast drinks in the name of Baal each time the Lakers make a shot (especially when Shaq used to be with them and tried to throw from the free-throw line) and shout out "Praise Be Baal!" and take a quick swig! ;^)

Kris

"Whenever we compete in any of the events like track, basketball, baseball and even water polo, we first perform a human sacrifice in order to satisfy our pagan god!"

Esau, I'm usually impressed by your wisdom, but in this case, well I have to beg to differ.

Sure there are many out there who devote much to time and attention to sports or pro-atheletes---even to the detriment of their own souls; but that could be said about anything.

Sports are a great outlet--to learn about winning and losing, about working hard to achieve a goal, about finding where and how you can contribute to the common good.

I'm not really sure how competing in a sport is a sacrifice to "Baal." Maybe I just misunderstood what you were trying to say.

I know there is a weakness in arguing from personal experience but, the coaches and athletic directors I came in contact with in Catholic school, all making dismal salaries, always reaffimed the importance of lifting up one's talents to the Lord, the giver of all things.

All good things can be corrupted, sports included, but lets not condemn the baby with the bathwater.

Esau

Esau, I'm usually impressed by your wisdom, but in this case, well I have to beg to differ.

Kris,
I was only being sarcastic.
All my statements there were obviously untrue.

Esau

Kris,

Apologies for making you tense up, brutha.

Don't get all worked up -- it's almost Christmas!
:^)

I thought my statements:
Whenever we compete in any of the events like track, basketball, baseball and even water polo, we first perform a human sacrifice in order to satisfy our pagan god!

and

In fact, even when we watch a Lakers game, we toast drinks in the name of Baal each time the Lakers make a shot (especially when Shaq used to be with them and tried to throw from the free-throw line) and shout out "Praise Be Baal!" and take a quick swig! ;^)

would have made it obvious that I was merely being sarcastic, but I'm sorry if you took it another way.

Enjoy Advent, brutha, and have a Great Christmas Season! ;^)

Kris

Esau,

Damn, do I feel stupid. Sorry, guess my sense of humor got lost in my strong feelings for the topic.

Man, talk about humbling...

Esau

Esau,

Damn, do I feel stupid. Sorry, guess my sense of humor got lost in my strong feelings for the topic.

Don't even apologize or worry, for that matter!!!

I get that way too -- especially if the topic is something I'm passionate about!

God bless and enjoy the time off from school!

bill912

Kris, if that's the worst mistake you make all day, then it's a good day.

Alois

I wonder if Cardinal Pell will play. He almost went pro back before he was ordained.

chris K

Just heard on FOX (from a distance) something about the Vatican fielding a team made up from inside spots' personnel such as Vatican Museum, even Swiss Guards - to promote sports from within Christian values (or something such). I think it said that these guys already play among themselves.

Andrew

Another reason why this would not be a good idea:

The team would NEVER be able to compete at the level that other countries' national teams play. I mean, if the pool of possible players is limited to students at pontifical universities, employees of the Vatican Museum (what??), and members of the Swiss Guard...I'm sorry, but that pool of candidates is too narrow to compete with teams populated by the top players out of millions in a country. The "Cardinals" would get creamed every time and they would be the laughing stock of the soccer world. No thank you!

Esperanto Christopher

Three words: Vatican Olympic Team

bill912

Good idea if there's a new pool event: The 200 Meter Water Walk.

Dean

The Vatican football team idea has already been tried: check out the Vatican City Rovers.

A. Williams

"How completely out of touch can you be? I'm just out of high school, was a four year varsity letterman and you know what I learned in Catholic school athletics? DISCIPLINE, INTEGRITY, SACRIFICE, ect... I was not taught idolatry, I was not taught that my sport was above my religion."

Yes, I'm writing from my perspective, from my experience of 16 yrs. of Catholic school education, and 4 year secular university. In all that time I played almost every team sport there was, basketball, baseball, football, tennis,bike club,soccer, boxing and varsity swimming. I also surfed, skiied and skateboarded. I am not against sports, I think they all are great and have their place in society..yes, even Catholic schools. What I am talking and arguing about is the proportion and attention that SUBSTANTIAL religious education is given in Catholic schools as compared to other activities, sports etc.. If you are one of the students who actually learned something about the faith in your school I can congratulate both you and the school. However, I would like to test everyone in this same Catholic school to see if they can answer only the most rudimentary questions about the Faith, Church history, the Bible, Sacraments etc..
My experience is that NOT ONE of my friends from Catholic schools can answer even ONE of these questions...which are pretty basic: 1) What is a desert father 2) What order did St. Bonaventure belong to 3) What century did St. Gregory the great live in 4) What is the 4th glorious mystery of the Holy Rosary 5)What 2 countries did the 2 St. Theresa's come from? Was St. John Bosco Irish, Chinese or Spanish? Name 5 of the seven deadly (Capital) sins. etc....

The problem is, as I stressed earlier is that in my experience, almost nothing of this is being taught in Catholic Schools. For instance, there are almost no students who are being taught anything on the desert fathers, or on the spiritual writings or lives of the Saints, or the seven deadly sins. (I am from California by the way.)It would be very revealing to give this simple test to all Catholic High Schools students to find out how many can answer ever 1 of the questions! Now, If you wonder why I am "...so completely out of touch"..it is because I realize that it is primarily the family and then the Catholic institutions and schools that have the most ability to teach the faith. And if the students cannot answer these VERY basic questions, but can give every statistic in baseball, the name of every professional football player in the NFL, recite the periodic table by heart and name every rap group in Chicago... there is a big problem and someone is to blame. WE can then point the finger to the 2 groups for this neglect..families and Catholic institutions (especially the schools) as said before I believe in the benefits of all sports! I practice or have practiced almost all major school sports. However, I see how these and other extracarricular activities are given so much more attention in Catholic Schools than teaching the students the faith. The perfect balance is probably the method used by St. John Bosco, that can combine true faith 1st, with plenty of secondary activities to follow. This is the right strategy. However, what we seem to see, and can, I think, be proved by tests, is that there is a wealth of secular items found in catholic schools but very little true and SUBSTANTIAL Catholic spiritual education. I'm for testing all catholic students to find the true level of their literacy and comprehension in Catholic subjects. However, I also think this would be a most embarrassing revelation for the Catholic Church..on top of all the sex scandals! So, by no means am I absolutely against sports..only to the degree that they supplant, obscure or damage true Catholic education in Catholic schools. "Nothing is to be preferred to the salvation of souls."- St. Francis of Assisi.

Sifu Jones

A Vatican Olympic team is a great idea, and very feasible. For one thing, other countries have athletes not from there compete, so the Vatican could too, merely by granting citizenship. They could impose whatever stringent moral qualifications are needed before such a thing would be considered. Training in countries other than the one you represent is commonplace as well.

Then athletes could simply volunteer to represent the Vatican, and the Vatican could then decide which ones are serious about representing the Vatican, as opposed to simply looking for an easy way into the Olympics.

Finally, the finances necessary could come from private sources who donate specifically for that cause. While I agree with Jimmy that fielding an entire soccer team for a whole season is a prohibitive cost that would be difficult to justify, I think putting forward a few Olympians would be cheap by comparison. And after all, they don't have to be great. They just have to be good enough to compete and show the world that the Church has a positive attitude toward sports, healthy competition, etc.

I mean, this was the whole point of JPII's declarations on sports: they're a good thing, if you do 'em right. What better way to reinforce that idea, realistically, than an Olympic team?

Next stop: a Vatican entry into the International Hot Dog Eating Contest!

OK, I'm kidding about that one.

A.Williams

I was hoping you were just kidding about EVERYTHING you wrote! Not just the hotdog part. Why on earth do we want to mix theology and the worship of God with sports?? Especially in the Vatican? Why can't everything have its proper place, and due attention, but not'extra' attention given accordingly? There is no reason on earth why the Vatican should try to recruit athletes from across the globe to compete in it's name..as if victory in sports is going to add to the Vatican's prestige?? Oh! I see...the Vatican will then be cool!! They might be even be considered more cool if they host 9 day raggae and rap novena's!

Monica

And what happens when athletes representing the Vatican are caught using steroids?

Pseudomodo

There is a story about Pius XII who was a voracious reader of EVERYTHING, -sports - medicine - science etc. He had an excellent photographic memory and liked to be informed on as many subjects as possible.

He often recieved groups of people like entire football teams much to the chagrine of his cardinals as their audience would often get 'bumped' in favour of some special group visiting the Vatican. It was reported at the time that one Archbishop remarked "Let's all dress up as football players, then we will get to see His Holiness Immediatly!!"

pseudomodo

BTW the story is related in the 1960 book Inside the Vatican by Corrado Pallenberg. It's an excellent Pre V2 book and rather prophetic in some respects.

caine thomas

In the words of the immortal Sgt. Hulka, "Lighten up, Francis!"

I'm sure there are many young men in seminaries worldwide who have tremendous athletic skill, and would have participated at high levels of competition, but have given that up for the religious life. A World Cup team comprised of such men would be an excellent way to engage the world culture on a the biggest of global stages. Much as the FIFA national teams draw feelings of unity among even strife-ridden nations, a Vatican team would be a powerful witness to Catholic unity within the world. The faithful (especially religious orders) could look at a team comprised of men from six continents and say in a uniquely tangible way "That's us". We certainly believe that about the church, but the imagery a Vatican futbol team would supply could be deeply unifying in an unexpected realm.

If a venture like that were first turned over to the Blessed Mother, I have faith it could be something that would draw young people away from the world and closer to God. I can't overemphasize the intensity I've witnessed among people in the third world who play and follow futbol. It's a simple and beautiful game that is a ready vessel for communicating the simple and beautiful truth of the Gospel.

However, I do think the Cardinal is exaggerating the chances such a team would have of making the cut to get in the World Cup, let alone advance once there - but I think its a great idea. Naysayers scoff all you want! I know there's one Polish soccer player in heaven right now who might have found this idea quite intriguing.

So there!

A. Williams

One quote I find intriguing and have often thought about while participating in sports was a saying of Socrates:

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." ...

Many times when thinking on this quote I found myself in agreement. But, however interesting this saying is, it has nothing to do with the mixing of professional, collegiate or any other type of sport participation with Church doctine or Church leadership. When the Church is losing countless members to fundementalism and secularism, and in many senses is really 'losing' the game...what the Vatican really needs to do is to 'keep their eye on the ball' in the real game they are playing: 'The Game of LIFE'. Might we say..'liturgical ball'?

bill912

The comment about Pius XII reminds me of the time Joe Medwick of the St. Louis baseball team was in a group that had an audience with him. The Holy Father asked each man his profession. Medwick answered: "Your Holiness, I'm a Cardinal."

Sifu Jones

"what the Vatican really needs to do is to 'keep their eye on the ball' in the real game they are playing: 'The Game of LIFE'. Might we say..'liturgical ball'?"

Last I checked, sports were a part of life . . .

I went to a Catholic college (Christendom, if anyone cares) where the first and last thing they tell you, and everything in between, is that the point of Catholic education is to go out and restore all things in Christ. Obviously the only way to restore the sports world to Christ is to get involved.

Now I understand that the Vatican has better things to do than run a sports team, but we aren't talking about the Pope making draft picks or anything. It doesn't hurt anything to not have a Vatican Olympic team, but there's a great chance it would make a positive impression if it did.

And as for Vatican athletes doing steroids, I believe we've all recently gone through a much more serious example of church representatives (certain priests) shaming the community with their illegal activities. I think a doping athlete would be a lot less serious. Embarrassing, sure, but that's the risk we take with every venture.

Local churches can sponsor sports teams; why not the Vatican?

A. Williams

Would it be good if we knew that God was a special fan of a PARTICULAR sport, or that Jesus had His home team? The Vatican projects the face of God on Earth, is a direct representation of Jesus Christ. The business of the Church is the business of the Child Jesus at 12, when He said "I must be about my Father's business", and later, "Don't turn my Father's house into a den of theive's",and "My Father's House is a House of Prayer". This should be a good hint at what the work of God is and thus the work of the Church. Does not the child Jesus show a division or separation of works here? That no matter how good carpentry is, the work of God the Father particularly involves religion and prayer?? Nowhere does the Lord put down carpentry, or other mundane works. But he does call his disciples away from their worldly works to preach the Word of God. So Let's let the particular dicsiples of Christ, the Vatican especially, do their particular jobs..that is, the work of the Father. We, on the other hand can start all the soccer, baseball, hockey and surf teams we want, praying all the while! Lets just keep things a little separated...as in knowing the difference between things sacred and profane. This is why we have the different parts of the same church, like the sanctuary and alter, to teach us these very things. This is also why we have different days of the week 'Dies domini' etc.., to separate, and sanctify things. Thank God the Church is again stressing these ecclesial realities, as too many people want to make one giant stew out of all things, blending all things sacred with all things profane! Therein no one knows where to find the true God and might as well just worship a...choose your favorite: soccer ball, golf ball, foot ball,ping pong ball, surf board,skate board, snow board,electric guitar, hunting rifle, marijuana bong, etc.. "Will I find faith on the earth when I return?"

caine thomas

Therein no one knows where to find the true God and might as well just worship a...choose your favorite: soccer ball, golf ball, foot ball,ping pong ball, surf board,skate board, snow board,electric guitar, hunting rifle, marijuana bong, etc.. "Will I find faith on the earth when I return?"

That just takes the cake.

If there was a cake sitting out there, it's no longer there because you just took it.

If I wanted to tell Vatican Soccer enthusiasts they can't have their cake and eat it too, I couldn't anymore because there is no cake...

Enjoy your righteous desserts!


A. Williams

Yes! you're right-- "that just takes the cake"!..that is, right out of the Sanctuary where it doesn't belong. However, unleavened bread is perfectly acceptable! If the world can be veiwed as a church, the Vatican would be the Sanctuary. Isn't this why we call it "The HOLY SEE". Let's stress the word HOLY. Now, how holy do you think an average game of soccer is? Or, a badmitton match? Or a kick boxing tournament? Yes, these are all just recreational activities. Just as sleeping isn't generally recognized as a Holy activity, neither is the playing or viewing of any particualar sport. Furthermore, there is a reason the word "fanatic" is used to name a person EXTREMELY enthusiastic with a sport or team. A "fanatic " for anything, except possibly true religion, is something generally known to be to be excessive or bad. I'm not going to draw a line, or define the degree to which being any sort of a fanatic (fan) might be sinful. However, I can say that because these things are recreational activities they don't really pertain too to the Vatican or Catholic Church hierarchy..whose primary focus is the "Work of my Father". Therefore, it is very becoming for all bishops and priests to recreate, in their own free time, in any sport they might choose, for instance. This is the proper place for recreation. But for them to develope and foster a professional sports team, or worse yet, multiple olympic teams, in addition to all the gymnasiums, ticket booths, souvenier shops, medical facilities, hot dog stands etc..severely departs from the Church's, and particularly the Vatican's, primary mission of spreading the word of God. (No matter how much money it brings in and which could possibly be given to the poor!!). Just as ping-pong is not suitable to be played on a Church alter table(though it probably has been)---soccer, and any of the hundreds of other sports or hobbies, is not suitable to be supported or promoted, by or inside,and in any way, the Holy See. I accept that most Fanatics will call me a "Prude"!--or worse. But I love the word's of the Lord, especially when He said: "Zeal for my Father's house hath consumed me".

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