Ex-Pope Benedict XVI Pleased About World Cup: Secretary

Ex-Pope Benedict XVI Pleased About World Cup: Secretary
Rome:  Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was particularly pleased with the World Cup final because there were players from his native Bavaria in the winning team but said he hoped Argentina would recover quickly, his secretary said on Monday.

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein said he watched the match along with Benedict XVI's entire staff but the 87-year-old pope -- who prefers theology and piano music to sports -- did not.

"He preferred to sleep," Gaenswein, a German cleric with a dual loyalties as he also heads up the pontifical household for Argentine Pope Francis, told Vatican Radio.

Benedict's staff "all supported Germany", he said.

Asked whether Benedict XVI was pleased when told the result on Monday, Gaenswein said: "Yes and no because the team has some Bavarians and that warms the heart even more. But then he said: 'I hope the Argentinians recover quickly'".

Gaenswein said he did not know whether Francis had watched the game but said he called to offer "condolences" to his secretary, Fabian Pedacchio Leaniz, also from Argentina.

"He responded in a very dry, clear but convincing way and he wished me well for the success of my team," Gaenswein said.

The Vatican declined to comment on Francis's reaction.

But aside from all the jokes about a supposed football rivalry between Benedict XVI and Francis over the World Cup, Gaenswein said: "This occasion has made people understand that there is a nice understanding between the two popes".
Story First Published: July 15, 2014 16:55 IST

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