“Fr. Paul Vlaar, a priest in the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam in the Netherlands, was suspended last week following a World Cup-themed Mass he presided over which was seen by his bishop as disrespectful to the Eucharist. Diocesan spokesman Wim Peeters explained that the priest had been warned by the bishop against frivolousness previously.
Bishop Joseph Punt of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam suspended Fr. Vlaar for “failure to respect the sanctity of the Eucharist” after he celebrated the Mass on the morning of the July 11 World Cup final, dressed in an orange chasuble.
Beginning Mass with a referee’s whistle, he consecrated the bread and wine at an altar adorned with flowers and candles in the team colors. He was also flanked by a child-sized soccer goal and banners and flags supporting the Dutch national team. The music chosen for the liturgy had nothing to do with the Eucharistic celebration at all.” – “Dutch Priest Suspended for Celebrating World Cup Mass”, A Catholic View
This article found over on A Catholic View was shocking to me. I cannot believe that an actual priest of the Catholic Church would think that beginning a Mass with a whistle, and hanging up soccer banners and flags would be okay to do. I do not see anything wrong with him sporting orange or having flowers and candles in the teams color, but anything more than that is way over the top. It is tough to see him punished for just having national pride, but there is a place and time for everything and Mass is a time for worship and praising God, not soccer.