Pope Francis has announced that the Vatican will become a major sponsor of sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, and called on churches around the world to get more involved in sporting events in their communities.
In continuing with his resolve to put a new face on the church, Pope Francis said athletes and sports figures have not been given the recognition they deserve from religious institutions. It is time the true worshipers were recognized, he said in an interview with the local newspaper. He cited as an example the ongoing FIFA World Cup Soccer championship. "Anyone who has been watching the games can see the fervent prayers of soccer players and fans," the Pope said. "These are the people who keep the faith in god strong and the church alive."
By sponsoring these events the church will not only give recognition to the faithful but also get exposure by being able to post advertisements at the soccer stadium. There is a strong possibility the Pope may ask that priests be allowed to bless players at the soccer field.
The Pope also announced that soccer players are promised eternal life for their prayers during the World Cup and other soccer championships. He added that athletes at Olympic Games will also share in eternal life. "It's not surprising that soccer players and athletes are highly paid and are role models in society. God answers prayers that come from the heart," Pope Francis said. "And the deepest felt prayers are those of players and fans at sporting events."
Upon being asked if the prayers of fans were also answered and if they are also rewarded for their prayers, the Pope said when their teams win that shows the prayers of the fans have been answered. And when their teams lose, it is a test of their faith. The reward of all fans is that they get to watch the games live. "How many people are fortunate enough to be able to afford to attend these sporting events? Those who are so fortunate are being rewarded for their faith and prayers."
Pope Francis wants this to serve as an example to believers all over the world. Not only is it important to pray, it is just as important that people must be seen to pray. Outward prayer is necessary so the unbelieving can see the prayers and see the rewards therefrom.
The Pope has put out a call to churches around the world to get more involved in sporting events in their communities. Priests are ecstatic at this latest initiative by the Pope. Priests have always tried to be physically involved with members of their church, but opportunities have been strictly curtailed. Now they can have more free relations, such as visiting dressing rooms of players to bless them and provide physical comfort.
In keeping with this aim of being more involved in sports, Pope Francis also announced that the Vatican City is planning to bid for the FIFA World Cup as well as the Olympic Games.