As a young priest on his native patch, he used to run exceptionally well-attended Bible study classes on a Sunday afternoon. "Frankly, there was nothing else to do," he confessed. That predated Celtic matches on the Sabbath.
Such matters were obviously uppermost when he addressed Catholic heidies two years ago. ardinals got about, he revealed: "I was over in Ulster in the Boyne Valley on a flute . . . fleeting visit."
Only recently, he was telling friends about Jim Baxter, the Rangers' legend, going to Heaven and asking St Peter if there were any other footballers around.
"Yes, there's Stanley Matthews and Jimmy McGrory," St Peter said.
"Who's that running around with his tongue hanging out?" "That's God. He only thinks he's Henrik Larsson," replied Peter.
The Cardinal can now find out for himself.