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Wed Apr 16 16:09:12 SAST 2014

Pope to take neutral stance in Germany-Italy clash

Peter Mayer, Sapa-dpa | 27 June, 2012 18:130 Comments
Pope Benedict XVI Attends The 2012 World Meeting Of Families
Pope Benedict XVI attends the 2012 World Meeting of Families at Meazza Stadium on June 2, 2012 in Milan, Italy
Image by: Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI, in keeping with his role which calls for him to be impartial, will hope that the “best side wins” when his homeland Germany takes on Italy in Thursday’s Euro 2012 semifinal, according to his spokesman.

“Personally I don’t think that the Pope will watch the match,” Father Federico Lombardi told dpa.

The 85-year-old pontiff will look to get a good night’s rest before a presiding Friday over the Feast of St Peter and St Paul - a traditional ceremony during which he will hand over scarfs to more than 40 bishops nominated over the last year.

But the football match, Lombardi said, is being “eagerly awaited” in the Vatican’s papal apartments where Benedict resides with his close aides, most of whom are Italians.

One of the pontiff’s personal secretaries, German-born Monsignor Georg Gaenswein will support Germany, according to Lombardi.

“Everyone else will root for Italy, including the pontiff’s other personal secretary, Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, who is Maltese,” Lombardi said.

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Pope to take neutral stance in Germany-Italy clash

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