From this morning's VIS:
In a declaration released yesterday afternoon, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. denied recent reports that the Vatican or the Italian Episcopal Conference have bought the Italian football team Ancona, which plays in the third division.
Ancona football club and the "Centro Sportivo Italiano" have recently signed an agreement involving the application of an ethical code in the administration of the team, alongside a new model of economic management, the promotion of a sporting culture among the fans, and support for social initiatives in the Third World. For its part, the "Centro Sportivo Italiano" has undertaken to seek sponsors for the club.
"The Vatican and the Italian Episcopal Conference have nothing to do with this project," declared Fr. Lombardi. "There are initiatives which have positive and commendable aims and, if the declared intentions can be effectively achieved, this is certainly a good thing," he said adding, however, that this does not mean that this is an initiative of the Vatican or of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
The Holy See Press Office Director went on: "The Church must not be attributed with responsibilities she does not have, although she may view positively the commitment of lay Catholics in various fields, including that of sports."
Members of the Ancona football club will participate in tomorrow's general audience in St. Peter's Square but this, Fr. Lombardi made clear, does not mean "that the Pope has sponsored or taken responsibility for the working of the team."