Pope pledges neutrality in World Cup

I wish everyone a wonderful World Cup, played in a spirit of true fraternity.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 12, 2014

In the spirit of fellowship, South America’s first pope says he will remain neutral during the World Cup competition in Brazil this month.

Pope Francis, who is from Argentina, doesn’t hide his love for his favorite Buenos Aires football club. But the pontiff told a Barcelona newspaper recently that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff asked him to be neutral.

“The Brazilians asked for neutrality. I’ll keep my word because Brazil and Argentina are always opponents,” Francis told the paper.

On Thursday, Francis issued a video message that urges players and fans to make the World Cup a showcase for teamwork and solidarity and not an demonstration of racism and greed.

Argentina plays its first match Sunday, against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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