For the past week, Pope Francis has been visiting Brazil. His visit happened during World Youth Day, a biannual gathering of young Catholics. During today’s mass in front of a reported three million people, Pope Francis poked fun at Brazil, saying that “Jesus offers them something more than the World Cup.”
In case you didn’t know, the Pope has been a lifelong fan of Buenos Aires club San Lorenzo and has held a membership since 2008. Luckily for the Pope, those in attendance didn’t take offense to his comments. Argentina and Brazil are bitter rivals on the pitch, but they were united together in religion on this day.
While it was a joke, I think Pope Francis brings up a good point. Sometimes we get consumed by sports rivalries that we forget soccer, or any sports, can unite us. As fans, we should show respect to each together no matter who we root for.
With a Brazilian referee being beheaded and rival gangs shooting at each other and killing two Boca Juniors fans, the Pope’s talk hits home for Argentinians and Brazilians alike. Since being elected pope, Pope Francis has been an active twitter user, and this week was no different as he expanded on twitter about sports, violence, and Jesus.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) July 25, 2013
Regardless of your beliefs, we can all appreciate and understand where Pope Francis is coming from. While he is spreading the message of Christ, sports can and should unite people — rather than be the cause of violent acts.