National News

Bishops Make Culinary Bet Ahead of Kansas City-San Francisco Super Bowl

Pope Francis gives a thumbs up as he looks at a football jersey presented by Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Mo., during a meeting with U.S. bishops from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska during their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican Jan. 16, 2020. The jersey has the name of Patrick Mahomes, quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. The bishops were making their “ad limina” visits to report on the status of their dioceses to the pope and Vatican officials. (Photo: Catholic News Service)

By Christopher White, National Correspondent

NEW YORK – Ahead of this weekend’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Bishop James Johnston have placed a friendly wager on the game’s outcome.

Should the 49ers lose, Cordileone will send Dungeness Crabs to Johnston. If the Chiefs lose, Johnston will send Kansas City Steak Company Steaks to Cordileone.

The two bishops made the joint announcement on Tuesday ahead of Sunday’s match-up in Miami in “the spirit of healthy competition.”

“These two storied franchises have the pleasure of playing in two vibrant Catholic Dioceses and the Bishops chose a friendly wager to reflect the loyal fans, the witness of striving for goals, and the common good of teamwork and community unity,” said a statement.

Wagers of this kind between prelates are not uncommon.

In 2018, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston placed a wager on the outcome of the Eagles and Patriots game. In 2016, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Richard J. Lennon of Cleveland made a similar bet ahead of the World Series.

Johnston, who was in Rome earlier this month, presented Pope Francis with a Chiefs jersey with the name of the team’s quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Cordileone is presently in Rome this week with bishops from California for regularly scheduled ad limina visits with Francis and officials from the Roman Curia.

“On February 2nd not only will a Super Bowl Champion be named, an Ordinary will soon have the beginnings of a fantastic meal,” the statement said.

Both Johnston and Cordielone hold degrees in canon law. Their respective football skills, however, remain unknown.