VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The members of the Vatican’s women’s soccer team decided not to play their first foreign match June 22 when a couple members of the opposing team lifted their shirts to reveal slogans protesting the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion.
Vienna’s Mariahilf women’s team had invited the new Vatican team to Austria as part of the Vienna team’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
But during the playing of the Vatican anthem just before the match was to begin, several members of the Mariahilf team lifted their shirts to show protests painted on their bellies and backs. One said, “My body, my rule.”
At the same time, in the stands, someone unfurled a banner reading, “Against homophobia.”
“The protest took by surprise the Vatican players who simply expected a celebration of sports,” said Vatican News. Along with their coaches, it added, the women “made the difficult decision not to play the match so as to prevent the manipulation of an event they had prepared with joy.”
Just over half of the team members are Vatican employees, the others are the wives or daughters of employees. Male Vatican employees have had teams and an intramural tournament for decades; the women formed their team early in the spring to play five-a-side games, but the match in Vienna was to be a regulation game with 11 players on each team.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103