Football fans call for the Easter weekend to be opened with an Australian Football League (AFL) match next year has been met with a cool response from the Catholic Church, which reiterated its opposition for any games to be held during the sacred period.
The Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Bishop Les Tomlinson, said though Melbournians enjoy their sport, nevertheless Good Friday is important to Christians and as such should be respected.
"Easter and the Easter holidays are a season of the spirit and the spiritual for Christians," he said.
"It's not just about the three o'clock ceremony. It is about the day. From our awakening to the end of the day, it is the day Christians remember that Jesus Christ suffered and died for us so that we might know and enjoy the love of God for all eternity."
The significance of Easter to Australians was also emphasised by Reverend Rod Benson, the Public Affairs Director of the NSW Council of Churches, who said it should be marked for religious observance and spiritual renewal given the integral role Christianity has played in the nation's history.
The call for a Good Friday Match to be held next year was part of a wider survey conducted by a News Limited publication to gauge the fans' reaction to a range of football issues.
Thus far, the AFL has made no comment though in 2007 the AFL Chief Executive, Andrew Demetrious, released a terse statement saying no football matches would be conducted over the Easter break.
Easter trumps Football
Published 28 July 2009 | Szeleng Chan