DON’T KNOW WHY, but in these days of FIFA World Cup frenzy, I have a thought that is consistently in my mind: Which national soccer teams do you consider the best in the world, consistently, in soccer history? I would list the following: Italy (sorry to put it first), Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, Great Britain, and Spain. If we look at those national teams consistently winning or shining, I think this should be the list. What do these countries have in common? They are (were) strongly Catholic countries. More precisely, they come from a Catholic tradition, which in some of them is clearly fading away.
Even if Great Britain is Anglican par excellence, we know that the similarities between Anglicans and Catholics are many, especially in the liturgical rite. What does the liturgy have to do with the World Cup of soccer? Nothing, probably, or maybe something. Indeed, what is soccer? The ability to organize human resources in a winning scheme, able to produce results and hopefully elegance in the development of the game. So we have the ability of the players to be part of a sort of rite, where everyone has his own role and where everyone is connected with the others. This connection is also important: if one player scores the winning point, the whole team participates in the victory, not just him.
I want to think that Catholic liturgy (and Anglican too, when of high standards) is not dissimilar from what we have said before. It is a rite that has its own reason, where every function is connected with the others. Where when someone sings, he is also singing for the others and not against the others. Where the beauty and elegance is functional to the final success of the rite—that in this case is the glory of God and the edification of the faithful. Who knows, maybe these two things, apparently so unrelated, soccer and liturgy, have more similarities than we can imagine.
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