Pope’s Love for Soccer Is Good for the Catholic Church

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Pope Francis is having a hell of a year.

He was named Time's Person of the Year last week, and he’s made headlines with his impressive acts of humility and willingness to tackle church bureaucracy.


Now Francis has one more thing to celebrate.

His team, San Lorenzo de Almagro, just won Argentina's First Division. And as we publish this article, club members are flying to Rome to share their victory with their most famous fan.

The pope is a lifelong, card-carrying fan of San Lorenzo who "religiously" pays his monthly dues to the Buenos Aires soccer club, according to its VP.

In his third sermon after taking office, Francis even gave a shoutout from the Vatican balcony to club officials who had gone to Rome to seek his blessing.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

A mural at San Lorenzo's stadium in Buenos Aires

The pope might not be thinking about this, but his love for soccer is probably good for the Catholic Church as well.


Here's a guy who ditches the papal palace in favor of a humble residence, personally calls people who seek his help, and reportedly sneaks out of his residence at night in disguise, to minister to Rome's poor.

And now he's also a big soccer fan? This surely adds to his reputation as the people’s pope and reminds us that, despite all his saintly achievements, he is also made of flesh and bone.


With the World Cup coming up, one can only wish that Argentina does well, in order to see the pope celebrating wildly on Saint Peter's throne.

One TV channel in that country has already enlisted Pope Francis in the national team's World Cup campaign.

Can you imagine Lionel Messi presenting the pope with the World Cup trophy? That would surely make Pope Francis happy. And it would be a great photo-op for the Catholic Church.


Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.