Posted on Jun 29
Pope Benedict XVI set aside the disappointment of his native Germany losing to Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-final and congratulated Italian president Giorgio Napolitano on Friday, his spokesperson said.
The 85-year-old German-born pontiff - whose predecessor Poland-born Pope John Paul II was a well-regarded goalkeeper in his youth - is also the Bishop of Rome and it was as much in this role that he extended his congratulations.
"As Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI shared the joy of his faithful," and asked his Secretary-of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone -- who is also a football fan -- to "convey his congratulations" to the Italian team.
Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman for the Vatican, said Cardinal Bertone had for this reason phoned the Italian head of state.