Vatican's offices switch sponsorship of seminarian soccer series
Published: March 15, 2012
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Pontifical Council for the Laity withdrew its support for a Rome-based seminarian soccer series, not because players and fans were having too much fun, but because organizers weakened their focus on the importance of human formation, said a Vatican official. Contrary to Italian news reports, the Clericus Cup soccer series "is something we've supported from the beginning and we're happy and pleased seminarians are playing. It has nothing to do with (players or fans) fighting or being too rowdy on the field," said Legionary of Christ Father Kevin Lixey, head of the laity council's church and sport desk. The council withdrew because the organizers neglected to offer, as they had other years, a seminar aimed at helping the future priests develop values-based sports initiatives and pastoral programs in their parishes, he told Catholic News Service March 15. However, the Pontifical Council for Culture, which has just opened its own sports desk, has decided to sponsor the Clericus Cup tournament. The culture council made the move because "we are interested in the cultural phenomenon" of sports, said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the culture council. While the laity council's sports desk focuses on formation and acts as a point of reference for international and national sports organizations and for sports groups at the diocesan or national bishops' conference level, the culture council's new sports desk will look at the cultural dimension of sports. The culture council plans to look at the human dimension of sports and how sports shape a person's "joys, anxieties and expectations," the cardinal said.
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