The greatest sports journalists score interviews with the greatest names in sports.
The rest of us, those without access or credibility, get our exclusives from different sources. This is one such example: An interview with the Twitter feed of Pope Francis.
Pope Francis, thank you so much for giving me a couple minutes to talk sports with you. I know you’re busy on your short trip to the United States. I mostly want to talk to you about football, America’s de facto religion.
But first off, I really appreciate you agreeing to an interview with The Cauldron, an online publication. Do you ever have time to wade into the comments sections on sports sites?
The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 18, 2015
I’ll take that as a “yes.” So, is there any way to fix comments sections? Seems like a lost cause.
Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 19, 2015
Agreed. O.K., moving along ... What are your thoughts on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell? He seems to think that it’s him, not you, who is the beacon of morality on Earth. What do you think of all his fines and suspensions?
God’s forgiveness is stronger than any sin.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) September 26, 2013
Naturally. Of course, Goodell has had a lot of dealings in the past months with the Super Bowl champion Patriots. Do you have any words of encouragement for NFL teams who think they can never defeat Bill Belichick and the Patriots, on or off the field?
The fight against evil is long and difficult. It is essential to pray constantly and to be patient.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 2, 2013
Well, that doesn't seem to have worked for Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, though.
What are your thoughts on Peyton Manning. Is his Super Bowl window closed? He looks really old out there.
Sometimes we cast the elderly aside, but they are a precious treasure: to cast them aside is an injustice and an irreparable loss.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 17, 2014
Yeah. Take that, Peyton haters.
We can observe the Fourth Commandment by loving visits to our aging grandparents.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) May 26, 2015
You should work in the Broncos ticket sales office, Pope Francis, although I think attendance at Mile High is just as strong as it's always been.
Speaking of the elderly, what do you think is going on with Drew Brees and the Saints? They really suck now.
Saints are people who belong fully to God. They are not afraid of being mocked, misunderstood or marginalized.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 7, 2013
Well, hard to argue that they aren't going to be marginalized by the playoffs. They’re awful. This is a team that won the Super Bowl not too long ago! They were great!
The Saints were not superhuman. They were people who loved God in their hearts, and who shared this joy with others.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 19, 2013
I’m going to have to disagree with you there. They put out bounties. Doesn’t seem too loving to me.
Getting back to the 0–2 Seahawks for just a moment, Wilson doesn’t seem to have stepped his game up since getting that big contract. Do you think he is just a game manager who can’t win without a top-tier defense?
A Christian who is too attached to riches has lost his way.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 25, 2015
Clearly, you spent a lot of time ministering to the poor and the lost. Here in America, we have folks like that, too. We call them the Cleveland Browns and their fans. What words of encouragement can you give them today?
There is never a reason to lose hope. Jesus says: “I am with you until the end of the world”.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 19, 2014
The end of the world, huh? So, yeah, doesn’t sound like there’s a chance of a championship anytime soon. What about the Browns' quarterbacks, what would you say to them?
We are all jars of clay, fragile and poor, yet we carry within us an immense treasure.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 9, 2013
Fragile and poor? I’m not sure how much that would motivate them. Come on. Give me something good. You’re the coach of the Browns. What do you tell them before they take the field?
What is at stake is our own dignity.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 19, 2015
O.K., that's better.
Hey, did you watch that New York-Washington game last night? Why do the networks keep putting NFC East games on TV? That division is garbage. I’d rather watch anything else.
Indifference towards those in need is not acceptable for a Christian.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 6, 2014
Understood. O.K., turning to college football for a minute ... do you think college players should be paid?
Dear young people, do not give up your dreams of a more just world!— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) July 3, 2014
Do you watch basketball at all? You’ve probably been called the LeBron of Faith a few times, right? Do you think the Cavs can win a title this year with Kevin Love?
Love is the measure of faith.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 27, 2014
Well said. People believe that guy is better than he really is. If you have time for one baseball question: Do you think great players who were linked to steroids, like Barry Bonds, deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?
Scientific and technological progress cannot be equated with the progress of humanity and history.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 18, 2015
Exactly my thoughts. They’re great with or without the science edge. They should be in the Hall. O.K., any final thoughts on sports?
Ooof. Good luck with that. You’re going to Philadelphia this weekend.
Please pray for me.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 13, 2014
I will. You’re going to need it. Thanks again for your time, Pope Francis!