Monday, February 26, 2007

Clericus Cup: Collegio Mater Ecclesiae 6 - Gregorian University Brazilians 0

(AP) The fans were pious. The players bound for glory. And the victory? A miracle. Priests and seminarians from several soccer-loving countries took to a field near the looming dome of St. Peter's Basilica Saturday for the first match of the Clericus Cup, a tournament fielding 16 teams from Catholic institutes in Rome.

"You are playing in view of St. Peter's cupola, so behave well," admonished Cardinal Pio Laghi before giving the official kickoff at a small arena on a hill overlooking the Vatican.

In Italy soccer is a hallowed game, taken almost as seriously as Catholicism, and the players were all business once the whistle was blown.

Amid screams from the coaches, pious slogans from the small crowd and T-shirts invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary, a motley crew of Latin Americans, Africans and Asians from the Collegio Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church College) took on an all-Brazilian team fielded by the Gregorian University.

In a miraculous upset, the young Mater Ecclesiae players trounced the more experienced but portly Brazilians 6-0 as their fans chanted: "The Mother of the Church wants a goal!"

The game had its share of hard tackles and rough play, with the first goal coming from a penalty kick _ the second in the match.

Still, in the end it was all handshakes and smiles between the teams, in what officials and players hope will set a good example for Italian professional soccer, which has been recently marred by fan violence and scandal.

The Clericus Cup should "reaffirm the educational and pastoral value of sport," and "strengthen feelings of true friendship and fruitful sharing," said a message from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's No. 2 official.


"We have lost but we are all laughing, and this shows that sport should be a joy for all," said Reginei Jose Modolo, a 32-year-old midfielder on the Gregorian University team. On the field, he goes by the name of "Zico," a Brazilian soccer star.

The tournament is also a second chance for many clergymen who left promising soccer careers to follow their spiritual calling, said Marco Rosales, a Mexican seminarian who coaches the Mater Ecclesiae team.

"Some on the team had a chance to play professionally, but the Lord called them to His team," he said.

Talk about a news story right up the alley of Ad Jesu per Mariam! The funny thing about this is that the communists at CBS filed this under "Strange News." I guess this is appropriate enough for the fake but accurate network.


M. Alexander said...

You even found pictures! Awesome, though I half wish they were playing in their cassocks.

Thomas Shawn said...

Thank for the tip. Does spell the end of the sissyfied 70s seminarians?

Tradcatholic said...

Great piece! Imagine playing with such a backdrop as St. Peter's - very symbolic. You would love the pictures of the Winona seminarians playing the Priests of SSPX in a rugged game of Ice Hockey -all the clerics wear their makes it more dangerous that way! The seminarians always win as they have non-clerics 1st and 2nd yr seminarians in sensible outfits playing. Good fun for body and soul.