Great news this, the Vatican has semi-announced an intention to create a Serie A football team. “The Vatican could set up a soccer team of the caliber of (AS) Roma, Inter (Milan), Genoa or Sampdoria,” Secretary of State and soccer enthusiast Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said Sunday. Bertone’s the Number 2 man at the Vat, and actually used to do radio play-by-play for Juventus. Pope JPII was a soccer goalie in his youth and with this kind of backing, it’s only a matter of time. Even the “Big Man” himself loves football, as evidenced most famously in Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
Bertone went on, “If, for example, we were to take all the Brazilian students at our pontifical universities, we could make a magnificent team,” he’s quoted as saying in Monday’s La Repubblica newspaper.
It may just be wishful pie-in-the-sky thinking for an old soccer lover. But with the Clericus Cup (a soccer tournament among seminarians) coming to Rome in February, and the old guy watching a 3-way soccer tournament between Swiss Guards, and employees of Vatican Museum, and employees of St. Pete’s Basilica it seems the religious fervour is being supplanted by football fever. I just wish quasi-legal tour guides could’ve fielded a team in the tournament, but no matter. The point is once this ball gets rolling look out Serie A, because Italians love football and God, and when their team faces off against God’s Own team, you’re going to see a multiple crises of faith that can shake this boot to its’ foundations.