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Archbishop Welby meets Vatican cricket team ahead of historic match

By on Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Archbishop Justin Welby throws up a ball while meeting members of St Peter's Cricket Club (CNS) Below: The Catholic Herald cartoon (Christian Adams)

Archbishop Justin Welby throws up a ball while meeting members of St Peter's Cricket Club (CNS) Below: The Catholic Herald cartoon (Christian Adams)

During his visit to the Vatican earlier this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met members of St Peter’s Cricket Club, the team of Catholic priests and seminarians who will play a Church of England team in Canterbury in September.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Archbishop Welby said: “This is the first cricket match between the two since the Reformation. There will be no intervention on the other side. We all know God is English.”

The Vatican team scheduled to play the Church of England XI will be made up mainly of students from Rome’s Pontifical colleges and seminaries who hail from a number of different countries, including India and Sri Lanka.

Fr Tony Currer, who is in charge of Anglican-Catholic relations at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and will also play in the match, told Vatican Radio of his love for cricket.

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“Cricket has always been my passion as a sport. I had very many happy years playing for Durham City,” he said.

“I was delighted when I arrived in Rome and found this cricket club forming. It kind of dovetails with my desk in the sense that our first fixture is with the Anglican Church in September.

“Sport brings friendships and what I got out of playing club cricket as a priest is that people see you in a different way and it’s sometimes stepping out of the stereotyped images we have of one another. On the cricket field it’s a great leveller.”

The match will raise money for the Global Freedom Network, an interfaith initiative to combat slavery and human trafficking. During his visit to Rome, Archbishop Welby attended a seminar on these issues and met Pope Francis on Monday.

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