Cricket: Vatican and Canterbury Joint XI coast to victory against multifaith side

Jul 13, 2018 by

by Stephen Fay, Church Times:

THE Vatican has acquired a taste for cricket. It is represented by the St Peter’s Cricket Club, which draws on seminarians from theological colleges in Rome, and whose team is touring England this summer. There are games against the House of Commons, for example, and against young inmates in Belmarsh Prison.

For the grand occasion of the tour — a game at Lord’s, the headquarters of cricket — the St Peter’s team was strengthened by a number of sporty Anglican priests from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI, including familiar faces from the Church Times Cricket Cup finals.

It was the first time that players from the two teams had appeared on the same side; so a certain element of confusion was to be expected — although not on the pitch. The official scorecard described the team as the Vatican XI.

Their opponents were a multifaith team, captained by Lord Patel of Bradford, who chairs Social Work England and is also a director of the England and Wales Cricket Board. A prominent sponsor was Muslim Aid, and Muslims predominated; but the team included Hindus, Jews, a Sikh, and a Buddhist.

Pope Francis had sent a message of support, quoting from his 2013 address to the European Olympic Committee: “Because the language of sports is universal, it extends across borders, language, race, religion, and ideology; it possesses the capacity to unite people together by fostering dialogue and acceptance.

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