Pope preys on sports

BILL KAUFMANN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:19 AM ET

Too many Catholics enjoying sports on Sundays at the expense of attending mass belong in the church's penalty box, Pope John Paul II said yesterday. "When Sunday becomes subordinate to a popular concept of 'weekend' and is unduly dominated by entertainment and sport, rather than being truly sanctified, people remain trapped in a relentless ... pursuit of novelty," the Pontiff told New Zealand bishops visiting his summer home.

Some Calgarians agreed the church has stiff weekend competition from other diversions.

"Sunday is probably our biggest day of the week -- I'd golf on Sunday," said Jason Burns, assistant pro at McKenzie Meadows Golf Club.

"I hate to disagree with him since he's got more power than me," said Bruce MacKenzie of Koko's Sports Bar, 4712 13 Ave. N.E.

But he said Pope John Paul should realize the spiritual benefits sport can bring.

"I see a lot more people pray at a football game than at church, especially at Stampeders games this year," he said.

"My knees are pretty sore."


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