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Good Friday AFL Games


Response from the Catholic Archbishop of Perth


Andrew Swallow of North Melbourne said in 2013 that he believes AFL should not plan matches for Good Friday

Archbishop Costelloe has expressed his disappointment at the news that the AFL intends to introduce football on Good Friday.

“I had hoped”, he said, “that the AFL would appreciate the importance of Good Friday as a day of profound reverence and reflection not only for Catholics but for all Christians who together represent the largest religious body in Australia”.

In a recent statement the archbishop acknowledged the importance which sport, and in particular AFL football, plays in our national life.

“Australian Rules Football”, he remarked, “is an important and dynamic aspect of our Australian society. Sport as a whole plays a vibrant role in forming positive values and a strong sense of community among players, staff and spectators alike. As a society we would be much poorer without it.”

At the same time the Archbishop suggested that the decision by the AFL to host football on Good Friday failed to take into account the important place which Christian faith also plays in the lives of many Australians, including professional sportsmen and women.

Acknowledging that Christians in a pluralist society cannot force their values on others the Archbishop expressed the hope that if AFL games on Good Friday were inevitable then consideration should be given to them being played as night games. “This”, he said, “would enable people to attend religious services, which often take place at 3 o’clock on Good Friday, and still enjoy watching their team play in the evening”.

The Archbishop concluded by making the observation: “We can be good Australians who love our football, and good Christians who love our God, at the same time”.