Cricket holy war on as Anglicans accept Vatican challenge

Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:25pm EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Let the holy war begin. The holy war of cricket, that is.

The Church of England on Friday formally took up the Vatican's challenge to settle scores on the cricket pitch nearly 500 years after the two Churches split.

Last October, the Vatican formed the St. Peter's Cricket Club, a league composed of teams of priests and seminarians from Catholic colleges and seminaries in Rome.

The best players will form a Vatican team, called the "Vatican XI," and challenged the Church of England to form its own team of Anglican priests and seminarians to play in London at Lord's, the home of cricket.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the 80 million strong worldwide Anglican communion, accepted through his representative to the Vatican, Archbishop David Moxon.

Moxon said plans were for the match to be held at Lord's in September after the Anglican side puts together a similar team of amateurs from Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and nearby theological schools.

Father Eamonn O'Higgins, a priest who is organizing the Vatican side, gave Moxon the ball that will be used in the match.

Moxon took a dig at Australia, who thrashed England 3-0 to win back the Ashes trophy earlier this week.   Continued...

A player from a team of priests and seminarians returns a ball during a training session at the Maria Mater Ecclesiae's Catholic College in Rome October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi