The Vatican Challenges The Church Of England To A Game Of Cricket

The Vatican has started its own club to bring together cricket-crazy clerics from around the world.

Posted on

The Vatican launched the St. Peter's Cricket Club on Tuesday, uniting priests and seminarians with a love for the sport, reported Agence France-Presse. The club's goal is to engage with other religions through the sport.

Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters

A batsman from a team of priests and seminarians returns a ball during a training session at the Maria Mater Ecclesiae's Catholic College in Rome on Tuesday.

The club will bring together cricket-crazy clerics especially from countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka where the sport is extremely popular. Catholic priests and seminarians in Rome will form teams for the league.

"The team will be strong enough to beat anyone in the world," said Father Theodore Mascarenhas (far left), an Indian Catholic priest, off-spin bowler, and the club's chairman.

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

From left, Father Theodore Mascarenhas, Australian Ambassador to the Holy See John McCarthy, Monsignor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Father Eamon O' Higgins, met with journalists at the Vatican on Tuesday.

"This represents the council's desire to go to the peripheries of the world that Pope Francis has spoken of," said Monsignor Melchor Sanchez, the club's honorary president and an official at the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture.

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Monsignor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, wears a cricket helmet during the presentation of the Vatican cricket club at the Vatican.

Although Pope Francis is a soccer fan, "the Holy Father has heard of cricket," said John McCarthy, the Australian ambassador to the Holy See who was largely responsible for the preparations of the cricket club.

A female Vatican Radio employee is also a club member because the chairman hopes that the nuns will play at some point.

Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters

Players from a team of priests and seminarians hang a Vatican flag during a training session at the Maria Mater Ecclesiae's Catholic College in Rome.

"When it comes to cricket, every Pakistani is a fundamentalist," said an Australian priest working in Pakistan. The Vatican club "brings together many countries and nationalities united by two things -- their faith and their passion for cricket," he said.

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.