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Names and faces

by The Associated. Press | November 21, 2021 at 4:34 a.m.

• Pope Francis is hoping that a charity soccer match that includes Swiss Guards, Vatican employees, priests, a player with Down syndrome, migrants and members of the Roma community will deal a significant "kick" to discrimination. The match takes place today in Rome and will be refereed by Lazio team captain Ciro Immobile. The encounter on the pitch aims to raise funds for a Rome diocese initiative to promote inclusion of Roma and others considered in the Vatican's description as among society's "most fragile" members. "It's a team where there aren't any barriers and which makes inclusion the simple normality," Francis told an audience of the game's participants Saturday in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. The pope devoted much of his speech to describing the challenges faced by the Roma community. "Dear Roma friends, I know well your history, your reality, your fears and your hopes," Francis told participants in the soccer match, which he said "indicates that the way toward peaceful coexistence is integration." The pope noted that in Croatia there are various sports initiatives aimed at inclusion for Roma, which he praised for facilitating "reciprocal acquaintance and friendship." He also expressed hope that the dream of children, who "have the right to grow up together," isn't shattered by discriminatory barriers. Francis wished the game participants well. "It doesn't matter who will score the most goals, because the decisive goal you'll score together, the goal that makes hope win and gives a kick to exclusion," Francis said.

• Neil deGrasse Tyson has a new publisher and high ambitions for his next book. Henry Holt and Co. announced last week that the celebrated commentator and best-selling author will release "Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization" next fall. The astrophysicist says the book -- a call for science, exploration and rational thought as paths to a better life on Earth -- may be his "most important." "As a scientist I could not sit idly by and watch the irrationalities of the world dismantle civilization, knowing that a dose of sensibility -- a cosmic perspective in our collective thinking can save us from ourselves," he said. Previous books by Tyson, host of the National Geographic series "StarTalk" and director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, include "Welcome to the Universe" and "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry."

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