There will be no holy war at the Vatican during the 2014 FIFA World Cup final.
Argentina and Germany advanced to Sunday’s championship game, which sets up an interesting division between the current and former leaders of the Catholic church. Pope Francis hails from Argentina, while his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, is German. The two, however, decided to stay impartial for the upcoming game.
“Popes are above such things,” Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said, via The Boston Globe. “They can only hope for the best team to win.”
Though they won’t side with a team in the game, that doesn’t mean the Popes won’t watch it. While he was a Cardinal, Francis had a piece of a bench from San Lorenzo de Almagro’s stadium — a team in Argentina’s top league — hanging in his office. Last year, the team even traveled to the Vatican to thank the Pope for his support.
Francis usually goes to bed around 10 p.m., but Lombardi said the Pope might stay up a bit later to see the outcome. Roxana Alfieri, who worked with with Francis in Argentina, said she wouldn’t be surprised if the Pope caught all of the action.
“He will surely watch the match; I have no doubt about it,” Alfieri said. “He used to listen to San Lorenzo on the radio and enjoyed following all the big events on TV.”
Benedict XVI doesn’t talk about soccer as much as his successor, but he has referred to the game as “school of life” on multiple occasions.
We’ll find out Sunday at 3 p.m. ET if the leaders stay true to their word and remain neutral.
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