News you may have missed this week.
With Islamic terrorists continuing to threaten vast populations in Syria and Iraq, including Christians; with ongoing turmoil in Ukraine, particularly with the signing of an economic pact with the European Union; and with the southern U.S. border being overrun with youthful illegal immigrants, the World Cup seems to have come at a good time. No matter what Ann Coulter might say, it’s good to have such relief from the cares of the world.
As in many sports, we find the best and the worst in the world of soccer. A couple of stories have emerged from the Copa Mundial which can give us all a little encouragement.
First, there’s Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portuguese who plays on the Spanish team Real Madrid. What’s unusual about him, aside from his skills, is the fact that you won’t find one tattoo on his body. That sets him apart from most soccer stars, who, as the saying goes, “love their ink.”
But the reason Ronaldo refuses tattoos is because he wants to keep donating blood.
“Regarded by many as an arrogant pretty boy, Ronaldo has made substantial donations to help children with debilitating diseases,” says a report in Australia’s news.com. “He skips the ink so he can continue to donate blood. In many countries around the world, new tattoos can impact a person’s eligibility to give blood due to risks of cross-contamination and hepatitis.”
Then there’s Clint Dempsey, captain of the US team and a Catholic who, according to this article, is “not afraid to talk about his faith.” He grew up in a Catholic family in Texas and went to Mass every Sunday with his grandmother. “Thanks to her, I learned that faith is important,” he said.
But when he was 12, he lost a sister to a brain aneurism, an event that led him to place God at a distance in his life. When he was in college, through a Bible study group, he found peace reading the Word of God. He wanted to enter into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Today, he said in an interview with Sport Spectrum, "I play to the best of my abilities and am thankful for the many opportunities and amazing success [God] has given me. Through it all, I want to do right, not make mistakes, and live a life that is pleasing to Him."
It’s hard to resist the tempttion, of course, to suggest that Jesus is watching over all of the proceedings in Brazil, considering the presence of the large Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, site of last year’s World Youth Day with a quite well-known fan of soccer. Well, apparently someone couldn’t resist the temptation to bring Christ into the game. According to the Huffington Post, the statue was bathed in light one night–alternating colors of all the teams that were playing in the World Cup.
The World Cup put Germany in the news this week, of course, with its team beating the US. But there was also a very special meeting of Germans at the Vatican. A scribe at the Ratzinger Forum informed us that Bavarian Minster-President Horst Seehofer had a private audience with Pope Francis. But how could the leader of Bavaria not stop in to see Papst Benedikt?
“Seehofer brought the retired Pope a gift of very special pastries, including bread with coriander made at the bakery in the Rimsting where Benedict’s mother spent part of her childhood and youth,” the blog noted, apparently based on a report in the German press. “Benedict told Seehofer that he could not visit his native Bavaria because he now lives like a monk inside the Vatican. He has imposed this rule on himself and can no longer travel…. Seehofer said Benedict’s health was quite good and he holds his Bavarian homeland in his mind and heart.”