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"Springtime of Vatican II" Update

You’ve Got to Be Kidding – Uh, No, They’re Not

by Christopher A. Ferrara

On August 3, 2004, Associated Press reported that "Pope John Paul II has set up a sports department to give the Vatican a kind of new playing field in its drive to spread Christian values around the world." That’s right  —  a sports department.

The Church is wracked by scandal on every continent. The sacred liturgy (as even Cardinal Ratzinger has admitted) has collapsed. Vocations have dwindled to almost nothing, and Mass attendance has plummeted by 75% since Vatican II. The great majority of nominal Catholics now reject whatever Church teaching doesn’t suit them. What better time for the Vatican to take an interest in sports?

And what is the official explanation for adding yet another cog to the Vatican bureaucratic machine? According to AP, "The Vatican announced the initiative Tuesday, pointing to the millions of people who will follow the Olympics in Athens this month as proof of the important role sports plays in today’s world."

Since when does the Vatican need a new department for everything that plays an "important role" in "today’s world"? Dining out plays an important role in today’s world. People dine out after they attend sporting events. Does this require a Pontifical Council of Dining Out? How about a Pontifical Council of Online Shopping, which also plays an "important role in today’s world"?

According to a priest spokesman at the Vatican, one Fr. Lixey, "The Holy Father has always been interested in sports, and as a means of evangelization and a great way to form youth." How exactly are sports a "means of evangelization"? What sort of nonsense is this? Has anyone seen any evangelization going on during NFL football games, the Olympics, or any other sporting event?

According to AP, "the Vatican is fostering a ‘sports culture which promotes a vision of sports activity as a means of integral personal growth and as an instrument in the service of peace and brotherhood among peoples.’" So, the purpose of the new Vatican sports department is to promote personal growth and peace and brotherhood … through sports. And what does this have to do with the Church’s divine commission to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost? Why nothing, of course. But then, quite a bit of what the Vatican apparatus has been doing since the Second Vatican Council has no relation to the Church’s traditional mission. This explains why the Church is in its current state of disarray.

Someone once said that we live in a time when parody is impossible, because the absurdities of the day are incapable of enlargement. The Vatican’s creation of a sports department in the midst of the worst crisis in Church history demonstrates the wisdom of that aphorism.