Talk by Monsignor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda at the Presentation of ST PETER’S CRICKET CLUB

1. Why is the Pontifical Council for Culture involved in this?

The Council for Culture deals with culture in all its broad meaning. Culture covers not only what you can find in the feuilleton, cultural o literary supplement of a newspaper. Culture also has to do with the ways people think, act, judge, according to a famous definition by British Anthropologist Taylor.

It is undeniable that sports have a major place in millions of people’s daily lives. For many, the only collective ritual they take part in is sports: hymns, songs, incense, tears of joy and of desperation. And also a lot of violence. Sports is for many a substitutive religion.

This phenomenon deserves a more in depth study, a cultural analysis, which is one of the key missions of this Council.

This is why we accepted to offer the Council’s Patronage to the St Peter’s Cricket Club.

2. New ways of bringing the Gospel

A second reason is that we are urged to explore new ways of bringing the Gospel, using new instruments. There is no doubt that sport is also a powerful means to convey values, attitudes, a moral message.

And cricket is perhaps the most popular sport in the World. If an image is worth more than thousands words, the idea of seminarians and future priests playing cricket in the quiet atmosphere of Roman parks, and of playing in a match against a Church of England cricket team, is also another way of implementing ecumenism and, why not, interreligious dialogue, far from academic debate.

3 It is not the Vatican Cricket Team

It could not be, since its members do not live in the Vatican nor work for the Holy See. However, they are students of Pontifical Colleges and Seminaries, and are linked by this fact to the Vatican.

The colours of the track suit represent this fact: white and yellow, with the keys, (St Peter’s Keys of the Kingdom) will be our visiting card around the world, at least, the world of cricket, which covers half of the world.

For us it is an exciting experience. I am a new comer to cricket, but it is the expression of our desire to be in the new peripheries of the world. As we opened the Holy See’s Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia, and we open new Courtyards of the Gentiles, we also be present in and through the Cricket.