Vatican to Hold International Seminar on Sports

Initiative of Pontifical Council for the Laity

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2005 ( The first international seminar on sports organized by the Holy See will be held this Friday and Saturday in Rome.

The initiative, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, will reflect on the theme «The World of Sports Today, Field of Christian Commitment.»

The event will gather some 50 people from 18 countries, including sportsmen and experts in disciplines related to the sports world.

Shortly before the Athens Olympics in 2004, Pope John Paul II established the pontifical council’s «Church and Sport» section.

The organizers explained in a communiqué that the initiative hopes to make «a diagnosis» of the situation of the sports world, in order to identify the priorities the new section will have to address.

Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, will open the meeting.

Among the speakers are Clark Power, of the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana; Elaine Raakman, of Just Play Sport Services, Canada; and Fabrizio Maffei, director of the Italian television channel RAI Sport.

Taking part in a round-table discussion will be Jeff Suppan, of the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team, Missouri; Clément Schertzinger, president of the International Catholic Federation of Physical Education and Sport, France; Arturo Salah, former Chilean undersecretary for Sports; and Father Hans-Gerd Schütt, chaplain of the German Olympic team.

Legionary Father Kevin Lixey, who oversees the Church and Sport section, will give an address. Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, will close the meeting.

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