|Mia San Mia - We Are Who We Are|
The badge and motto of FC Bayern Munich
(source: Wikipedia - published as fair use)
Yesterday, Uli Hoeneß, the president of Bayern Munich, Germany's most successful football team, spoke of his desire to offer a lifetime honorary club membership to Pope Benedict XVI. Speaking on the German sports tevelvision channel, Sport1, Hoeneß said that he would not hesitate to have the Bavarian born Pontiff as a member of Bayern Munich, saying: "If he gives us the word, we will go to him and bring him an honorary membership."
According to the soccer new site, Goal, Hoeneß would like to have the Pope as a member of his football club for many reasons, but especially as it might help the team win God's favour from time to time! It also appears that Pope Benedict XVI has been a life-long supporter of Bayern Munich - a club that has a large following amongst Bavaria's mainly Catholic population.
Pope John Paul II was made an honorary member of two football clubs during his pontificate, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke. He is also reputed to have been a skilled goalkeeper in his youth. John Paul II also formed the Vatican's own national football side in 1978. Since then, this team has been known to play the odd international game, mainly friendlies against other small city states. The Vatican City national side also plays against local teams in and around Italy, and even beat a team from Rome's Carabinieri Station 9 - 1 last year.
Whilst Pope Benedict XVI may not posses his predecessor's excellent soccer skills, he does appreciate the sport's value in helping form young people in their desire to become useful members of society. During an audience with Italian footballers in January 2008, the Pope is reported to have said: "The sport of football can be a vehicle of education for the values of honesty, solidarity and fraternity, especially for the younger generation."
Let's hope, then, that Pope Benedict XVI enjoys his honorary membership of Bayern Munich. Who knows, he might even get to see them play against the Vatican's national team one day!