From Netscape news today:
"Pope Says Don't Do THIS on Sundays
No more watching movies or football games on Sundays. Pope John Paul II has decreed that Roman Catholics should reserve Sunday as a day for God only and not for secular diversions, such as entertainment and sports, reports Reuters. "When Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes subordinate to a secular concept of 'weekend' dominated by such things as entertainment and sport, people stay locked within a horizon so narrow that they can no longer see the heavens," the pontiff said in a speech to 35 Australian bishops, who recently made a pilgrimage to the Vatican. The pope blasted what he called "the pernicious ideology of secularism."
Condemning the "culture of the here and now," the Holy Father encouraged the leaders of the church to "lead men and women from the shadows of moral confusion and ambiguous thinking." Noting the secular culture is undermining family life, the pope encouraged Catholics to remain faithful to the Sunday Mass.
Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, admitted to The Boston Herald that he was "kind of flabbergasted by the pope's suggestion, because it seems like it's coming out of left field. We've been playing sports on Sunday his entire papacy." Of course, most professional teams, including those in Europe, play their games on Sundays. Who can imagine a Sunday afternoon between August and January without a National Football League game?
To which the pope says this: "Sunday is the supreme day of faith, an indispensable day, the day of Christian hope. Any weakening in the Sunday observance of Holy Mass weakens Christian discipleship." Lapchick had harsh words in reply. If the Catholic church did place a ban on Sunday sports, he thinks the church would lose congregants. "Sports is a religion in this country and a lot of the world," he said."