Pope Francis: “Sports are at home in the Church”

Pope Francis: “Sports are at home in the Church” December 19, 2014

He spoke of sports and the Olympics today, according to Vatican Radio

“Sports are at home in the Church” – that’s what Pope Francis told managers and athletes of Italy’s National Olympic Committee Friday.  In a meeting in the Vatican, the Pope congratulated them on Rome’s candidacy as a possible venue for the 2024 Olympics, but quipped; “I won’t be here!”

AFP3776655_LancioGrandeHe observed that Italy’s National Olympic Committee celebrates its first centenary this year and recalled that it draws inspiration from the fundamental values laid out in the Olympic Charter, which places at the forefront the “centrality of the person and the harmonious development of humankind, the defence of human dignity.”  He remarked that the Charter stipulates that sport can contribute to the building of a better world, without wars and tensions, educating young people through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind … in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and loyalty.

“Sport has always favoured a universalism characterized by brotherhood and friendship among peoples, peace and harmony among nations; by respect, tolerance, harmony of diversity,” said the Pope. Sporting events, especially the Olympics, bring together representatives of nations with different histories, cultures, traditions, beliefs and values, he said.  They can open “new routes, sometimes unexpected,”  in overcoming conflicts caused by the violation of human rights.

“The Olympic motto – “Citius, Altius, Fortius” – is not an incitement to the supremacy of one nation over another, of one people over another people,” he continued.  It is a challenge we are all called to – not just athletes, he added: “to make the effort, the sacrifice, to achieve important goals in life, accepting one’s own limitations without being hampered by them but trying to overcome them.”

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