Another Soccer Pope?

According to a ZENIT report, Pope Benedict XVI says he hopes that soccer players and organizations can increasingly become a tools to educate in values. The Pope made his appeal today at yesterday’s general audience. Italian soccer players and representatives of the sport were in attendance.

“May soccer increasingly be an instrument for teaching values of honesty, solidarity, and fraternity, especially among the youth,” he said.

The group gave the Holy Father a soccer ball and a blue jersey from the Italian national team with “Benedetto XVI” written on it.

The Pope made no predictions concerning this weekend’s NFL playoffs, probably because the Saints aren’t playing.

On a more serious note, the Pope’s words resonate with Catholic Athletes for Christ, a dynamic new apostolate that seeks to evangelize in and through the world of sports. Click here for more information.

2 responses

  1. I don’t know. Soccer is a great game…..for Europeans. The values of European soccer might be “honesty” “solidarity” and “fraternity.” But in the US?? I’d associate it more with environmentalism, anti-competitive socialist egalitarianism, and well…suburban liberalism. It is not so much the game itself of course but the “spirit of soccer” as it is in teh US which I have come to loathe. We all remember the soccer moms who elected Clinton and almost elected Gore in 2000. John Kerry was an old time soccer player as he was playing in a match when he learned of the Kennedy assassination back in 63. Bush was saved from the minivan driving soccer moms largely by pick up truck and SUV driving football moms. I would be willing to bet that there are not that many “soccer moms” who are CUF members or fans of Pope Benedict. Soccer is by far most popular in areas of the country where Catholics are most hostile to traditional Church teachings on controversial issues like birth control, divorce and abortion. I wouldnt go so far as to call soccer a left wing or modernist conspiracy but it has undeniably sapped American strength and eroded the American Church as well. Is Catholic Athletes aware of the dangers of soccer? Maybe instead of evangelizing through soccer they need to evangelize soccer first. I’m only half tongue in cheek :)

  2. You may be right. I always thought “free kicks” sounded like another government entitlement program to justify higher taxes.

    Catholic Athletes for Christ encompasses all of sports, though it seems the greatest involvement at this time, at least at the professional level, is in the area of your beloved pastime: baseball. Yet, now only weeks after the Mitchell Report, baseball people have enough problems of their own to deal with.

    I understand what you’re saying about soccer. It does seem to cater to smaller, more affluent families, and the amount of driving and practice can seem daunting. (Whatever happened to “sandlots” and playing ball there with one’s buddies?) Family time and family meals are more of a challenge when the little guys are playing these highly organized sports. When you have a ten-year-old daughter recruited for a “travel team” the week you move to town, you know something is a little awry here!

    At the same time, soccer seems to be the most universal game around–played everywhere by rich and poor alike, without the need of a lot of specialized equipment.

    I have three kids who currently play. Samuel will eventually slide over to football, basketball, and/or baseball, but Virginia and Abigail love soccer and want to play at least at the high school level. The sport has been a wholesome activity for all of them, and I have to say one of my greatest joys this past year has been watching them play.

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