An interesting story out of Rome: the Pontifical Council for the Laity ends its support for the annual soccer tournament of Roman seminarians and religious orders. Why? According to Rev. Kevin Lixey the seminarian outreach to youth ended.
They are just organizing a soccer tournament, and they are doing a good job. But this is not what we are interested in: we want to equip seminarians for their job in the field, to help them reach youth through sport.
Is this significant? Probably not. The Clericus Cup gets patronage from the Pontifical Council for Culture. I wasn’t aware poor sportsmanship was an issue for this effort:
(I)n 2010, a bitter fight broke out among players during a match. There have also been reports in the Italian press of supporters chanting sharp-tongued songs against rival teams.
The culture of sport has far-reaching tentacles into contemporary society, including seminary training. For a “different soccer,” or a different approach to any sport to take root, the witness is going to need to maintain ties to the community, and the evangelical needs of the laity. Otherwise, it’s just another day at the beach for clergy-in-training. And that’s not to say that priests don’t need encouragement to stay fit. But I’d wonder why the department dealing with the laity is involved. Or culture. It should be the Congregation for the Clergy, right?
Losing sponsorship? Heck, Tiger Woods and Rush Limbaugh know that feeling, right?