Times Online reports that the prospects of a Vatican football team competing against the giants of the Italian league came a step closer yesterday with the announcement of the league's launch next month.
According to the Catholic sports organisation, Centro Sportivo Italiano, there will be no games on Sundays, and players who in the heat of action forget themselves and utter the Lord's name in vain will be immediately sent off.
The football teams will be drawn from the scores of Vatican institutions in and around Rome. These include the nine Vatican congregations, the equivalent of ministries, and in particular the six pontifical universities and the various national colleges, brimming with young men from the soccer-mad nations of Africa and Latin America. A team will also be fielded by the Swiss Guards.
The Vatican League Championship, called Clericus Cup, is to be sponsored by one of the largest Italian insurance companies. The 16 teams will each be linked to a university, college or other institution.
The Cup has the fervent support of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, and second-highest-ranking Vatican official after the Pope.
He first proposed a single Vatican team, suggesting: "If we could draw from all the Brazilians studying in the Pontifical universities we could put together a magnificent team."
Team Pope sets sights on giants of football (The Times, 22/1/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Centro Sportivo Italiano
The Swiss Guard
Vatican Secretariat of State (Vatican)
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone (Catholic-Hierarchy)
Vatican priests to strip for Clericus Cup (CathNews, 18/2/06)
23 Jan 2007