Cricket is a game traditionally played in Rome only by anglophones, eccentric English aristocrats and immigrants from the subcontinent. However, on
October 22, 2013, Australian Ambassador to The Holy See John McCarthy, Monsignor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, undersecretary of the Pontifical
Council for Culture, Father Eamon O' Higgins, and Father Theodore Mascarenhas from India, met the journalists and announced the launch of Vatican's
Saint Peter's CC.
Saint Peter's Cricket Club is the brainchild of John McCarthy, Australian Ambassador to The Holy See. His son trained for the priesthood in Rome was
frustrated by the lack of cricketing possibilities in the Vatican even though there is ...view middle of the document...
Image: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi,head of the pontifical council for culture.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the pontifical council for culture, praised the launch of Vatican's Saint Peter's CC as a chance to celebrate the
nobility of "true sport," an “expression of inter-culturality” and a “dialogue between people”.
Ambassador McCarthy said: “It is certainly the case that the Holy Father has heard of cricket ... as a sport that was played in schools conducted by his
[Jesuit] order in Argentina."
Father Eamon O' Higgins said: "But I think this is something that goes in line with one of the objectives of Pope Francis, which is to reach out and not
stay within our own security zone."
The organizers hope this initiative aimed at forging ties with teams of other faiths, eventually, would lead to interfaith activities involving cricket matches against teams from Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist educational institutions.
To begin with, the Vatican cricketers challenged their Anglican counterparts to play cricket at the home of cricket - Lord's Cricket Ground in St John's
Wood, London. Ambassador John McCarthy said: “It is hoped there will be a team of sufficient level that, for instance, in the next year they could play
a team nominated by the Church of England. ... It would be the dearest aspiration of so many of the cricketers here that that game take place at
Monsignor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, was not so optimistic. He quietly said they would try to put together a team which could “lose with dignity”
against the English. “I think they’re very strong,” he added.
Responding to the Vatican's proposal, Reverend Mark Rylands, Suffragan Bishop of Shrewsbury and a keen cricketer, said:
“I am delighted to hear of the formation of Saint Peter's Cricket Club and look forward to welcoming them to England as brothers. We do not have a
national team at present, but I'm confident that it will be possible for an annual fixture to be played in the spirit of ecumenism. To that end I hope we
can keep any sledging to a minimum and that neutral umpires will not be necessary.”