Cardinal: Pope Hopes for Trip to Moscow

Pope Benedict hopes to visit Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II in Moscow in 2007, but there are no concrete plans, Cardinal Walter Kasper told the Associated Press Jan. 23.

He said that whatever problems still persist to divide Christians, the Vatican was committed.

“Even if we haven’t reached the definitive ecumenical goal ... we have established a network of relations and of forms of getting closer from which there is no turning back.”

Vatican Soccer Team to Kick Off Soon

The official Vatican soccer team, composed of the best seminarians, clergy and laymen studying in Rome, will be put together this month to compete for the Clericus Cup (Vatican League Championship), according to Independent Catholic News’ website.

Centro Sportivo Italiano, the Catholic sports organization, said other teams will be drawn from the many religious institutions in and around Rome, including the nine Vatican congregations, six pontifical universities and the various national colleges.

The Pontifical Swiss Guard will also field a team.

No More Obstacles to Vatican-Vietnam Ties?

With the historic meeting Jan. 25 between Pope Benedict and Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, diplomatic ties between the two countries should not face any more obstacles, Vietnamese Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man told AsiaNews.

The cardinal said he and some bishops met in late 2006 with the Vietnamese president, Nguyen Minh Triet. Both sides discussed “development, especially in the areas of education and health care,” the cardinal said. “I think through meetings and dialogue, the Vatican and the Vietnamese government will understand each other better and their relations will improve.”