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Pope Francis skipped World Cup final to stay ‘neutral’

Pope Francis reads his message during the Angelus prayer he delivers from the studio window overlooking St. Peter square at the Vatican, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Pope Francis has led tens of thousands of people in St. Peters Square in unannounced, silent prayer for an end to the warfare in the Mideast. Francis called for insistent prayers for peace in the Holy Land during his Sunday window appearance to pilgrims and tourists. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis reads his message during the Angelus prayer he delivers from the studio window overlooking St. Peter square at the Vatican, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Pope Francis has led tens of thousands of people in St. Peters Square in unannounced, silent prayer for an end to the warfare in the Mideast. Francis called for insistent prayers for peace in the Holy Land during his Sunday window appearance to pilgrims and tourists. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)   | Photo Credit: Alessandra Tarantino

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Pope Francis did not watch his native Argentina play Germany in the World Cup final as “a matter of neutrality,” the Vatican’s chief of ceremonies Guillermo Karcher said on Monday.

Pope Francis is known as a lifelong football fan and card-carrying member of Argentine club San Lorenzo, but Karcher said he did not even tune in to see the nail-biting final in Brazil, which Germany won 1-0 in extra time. “The Pope was updated on the World Cup but said he wasn't going to watch it as a matter of neutrality,” Karcher, one of the Pope’s closest associates, told Argentine broadcaster Radio del Plata.

“We kept him informed play by play. We’re happy and continue to support the team.” Karcher, who is also Argentine, worked with the Pope — then named Jorge Bergoglio — when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The Pope stuck to the neutrality principal ahead of the match, limiting himself to a comment about the importance of intercultural exchange on Twitter.

“World Cups bring about the encounter of people from different nationalities and religions. May sport always promote a culture of togetherness,” he wrote on his @pontifex account.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:29:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/pope-francis-skipped-world-cup-final-to-stay-neutral/article6210629.ece

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