A game of two popes: Vatican plays down talk of World Cup rivalry
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry between Argentine Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict, a German.
In response to the intense media speculation about whether they would watch the game together, which it called "amusing", the Vatican called on soccer fans to observe a "pause for peace" before Sunday's final to remember victims of war and poverty.
A senior Vatican official who works with both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict told Reuters that no decision had been taken yet on how each of the two would spend Sunday night.
Benedict, the source pointed out, is not a soccer fan, but added: "Let's see. The current situation is unique".
The Vatican's spokesman said he did not believe Benedict, now 87 and living his retirement in seclusion in an ex-convent in the Vatican, would watch the match, because of the late hour
Francis, the Latin American pope, is most definitely a soccer fan.
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was a keen supporter of the San Lorenzo soccer club. He is an honorary member of the club nicknamed the Saints of Boedo for the neighborhood where they were founded by a group of young men that included a priest in 1908.
The Vatican's Council for Culture which has sports as part of its brief, called the pre-match speculation "amusing and entertaining" but said it was calling for a moment of silence on Sunday for "thinking about important things" such as peace. Continued...