Thursday, January 18, 2007


Benedict lures soccer legend Beckenbauer back to Church

Former German World Cup winning captain, Franz Beckenbauer, has returned to the Catholic faith after a meeting with Pope Benedict that he describes as the "most important experience of his life".

Catholic World News reports that Beckenbauer, who led Germany to victory in the 1974 World Cup, told the Munich newspaper Abendzeitung that his October 2005 meeting with Pope Benedict left a deep impression on him.

Later, after the Pope's trip to Bavaria in September 2006, Beckenbauer began to immerse himself in the Pontiff's writings. As a result of his reading, Beckenbauer returned to the active practice of his faith.

"Benedict XVI leads people to the Church," Beckenbauer told Abendzeitung, "and I myself am the best example of that."

Selected twice as the European Footballer of the Year, he played in three World Cups - 1966, 1970 and 1974 - and managed the winning West Germany team in the 1990 game.

At the end of the 1990s, he led Germany's successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup and chaired its organising committee.

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