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As the 2014 World Cup nears, faith remains strong

As the 2014 FIFA World Cup nears, soccer's connection to religion makes headlines throughout the world.
Herb Scribner, Deseret News Modified: June 3, 2014 at 11:34 am •  Published: June 4, 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is about 10 days away. And soccer’s religious connections have been the trending topic in recent weeks.

This past weekend, Pope Francis spoke in a packed Rome soccer stadium of 50,000 Catholics, calling for people to recognize the tremendous troubles facing the family, The Associated Press reported.

“Francis told the faithful that the devil wants to destroy the family, which he described as the ‘domestic church,’ ” the AP reported.

As people in the crowd cheered, Francis said they were reacting and celebrating as if they were Samba dancing, which is a highly popular form of dance in Brazil, who hosts the 2014 World Cup.

BBC recently highlighted the religious situation in Brazil, where many outsiders perceive soccer to be a sort of religion for people. However, Brazil's religious landscape is more diverse than casual observers realize, BBC reported.

“Everyone knows that football is a religion in Brazil, but religion itself finds its expression in the game, and the players' behaviors on and off the pitch reveal much about the country's changing religious landscape,” Rosie Dawson wrote for BBC.

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