When a team of Portuguese priests won an indoor football competition, they could hardly have imagined the divisions their triumph would provoke in Lisbon’s Parliament.
It was the fifth time they had won the European clergy championship for futsal (indoor five-a-side football).
The Social Democrats and Christian Democrats put forward a motion to congratulate the team. Although sincere, the motion was leavened with humour, describing team captain Fr Marco Gil as “the Cristiano Ronaldo of the Church’s team” and lauding Fr André Meireles for his “surprising hat-trick” in the final against Bosnia.
The humour was lost on some. Although the Communist Party voted for the motion, the 19 MPs of the radical Left Bloc and 40 Socialists voted against.
Nevertheless, the motion to congratulate the priests – six of whom were present – was eventually approved.
Although some may have acted out of pure anti-clericalism, many were dismayed by the tone of the motion, according to journalist Susana Madureira Martins, who covers parliament for the media group Renascença.
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