VATICAN CITY (AP) Pope Francis has received an unusual gift aimed at boosting relations between the Catholic and Anglican churches: A cricket bat signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and his team following their recent rematch with the Vatican's XI on Rome's Campanelle grounds.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, a former rugby player who nevertheless knows cricket, gave Francis the bat Thursday after the St. Peter's Cricket Club beat the Church of England's XI by 43 runs in a 20-over match this weekend.
Francis promptly signed it himself.
The Vatican team includes seminarians and priests studying at Rome's pontifical universities. They are 4-0 this season ahead of an April rematch with the Royal Household.
Australia's Vatican ambassador, John McCarthy, said the Anglicans' visit ''strengthened personal and institutional relations'' between the two churches.