Catholic museum probes soccer’s debt to religion
The museum at Vienna’s Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Stephen has a new exhibition meant to show what it says soccer owes to religion. As my colleague Alexandra Hudson writes from the Austrian capital:
Players such as Argentina’s Diego Maradona are venerated as saints of the modern age, the exhibition explains, and fans frequently set up shrines or collect “relics” of their favourite teams or players.
“There are many parallels between the cult of football and the rituals of the Christian Church,” said museum director Bernhard Böhler.
An “I belong to Jesus” shirt worn by an AC Milan player and Maradona’s famous “hand of God” goal are cited to show the links between faith and football. The exhibition, entitled Heroes, Saints and Heaven Stormers, runs from May 21 to September 22.
Do you think soccer owes as much to religion as the museum director says?
P.S. Readers of this blog may recall Bernhard Böhler from an earlier and far more controversial exhibition, the show of artist Alfred Hrdlicka’s work that included a painting depicting the Last Supper as a gay orgy (we blogged on it here and here and here). That got him into hot water, with protests pouring in from Austria, Germany and the United States. It wouldn’t have surprised me to hear he had been fired, but this soccer story suggests he’s weathered the storm.