Sports Seen Suffering From Violence and Commercialization

Vatican Voices Views at World Conference of Tourism

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BARCELONA, Spain, FEB. 22, 2001 ( The Vatican raised its voice at the World Conference of Tourism, urging that the world of sports be freed from violence and excessive commercialism.

In addressing the conference on «Sports and Tourism,» being held here today and Friday, Monsignor Piero Monni, the Vatican permanent observer at the World Organization of Tourism, explained that sports is «a social and cultural phenomenon anchored in ancient values that are essential for human beings.»

Hence, the monsignor added, these «values must be protected from deleterious influences, such as intolerance, doping, excessive commercialization, present-day utilitarian tendencies, and evident private interests, which aim at reducing sports to a mere show.»

The Vatican aide insisted on the «educational values found in practicing sports.»

«Educational aspects linked to sports should lean toward the integral development of a person,» he said. «These aspects can also come up with a plan for a man, capable of being responsible and free.»

«In this atmosphere of moral values, sports tourism exalts its educational purpose,» Monsignor Monni emphasized. «Fair competitions, the sacrifice connected with working out, and healthy competitiveness are the components of a formative path in life.

«This formation can offer the community strong, well-balanced, well-prepared personalities, who can reach other positive goals.»

He continued: «In this way, sports, as well as tourism, becomes a vehicle for comparison and dialogue between young people involved in these fields. Therefore, sports and tourism are efficient tools for teaching young people, in their period of human and social formation, respect for the fundamental values of man.»

«[At] the same time,» the monsignor said, «it is necessary to come up with a more transparent image of the sports world. Therefore, it is necessary to have a true sports culture, because the dominating disciplines condition the way of thinking and the way of speaking of the community.»

He concluded: «This is an intention deeply shared by those who sincerely love sports and tourism, but want them freed from episodes of negligence, corruption, violence and discrimination.»

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