Pope: Sports Aid Human Development

Underlines Support for Healthy Competition

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing support for sports programs, underlining the role of athletics and competitive activity in the formation of the person.

The Pope stated this in a message sent to participants in a seminar on “Sports, Education and Faith: For a New Stage in the Catholic Sports Movement,” which took place Friday and Saturday in Rome.

The message was sent to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The Church and Sport section of that dicastery organized the event.

The Pontiff affirmed, “Sport has a notable educational potential above all in the realm of youth and, because of this, it is of great importance not only in the use of free time, but also in the formation of the person.”

“Through sports activities,” he said, “the ecclesial community contributes to the formation of youth, offering an appropriate ambit for its human and spiritual growth.”

The Holy Father continued, “In fact, when they are directed to the integral development of the person and are managed by qualified and competent personnel, sports initiatives reveal themselves as propitious occasions in which priests, religious and laity can become true and proper educators and teachers of life of young people.”

He noted the “urgent need to educate the new generations,” and thus underlined the necessity of the Church’s continual support of sports for young people.”

The Church, Benedict XVI said, fully appreciates “competitive activity in its positive aspects, as for example, in the capacity to stimulate competitiveness, courage and tenacity in the pursuit of objectives.”

He noted the need to avoid “all tendencies that pervert” the nature of sports.

“In a coordinated formative action,” the Pope affirmed, “Catholic leaders, technicians and operators must be considered experienced guides for adolescents, helping them to develop their own competitive potentialities without neglecting the human qualities and Christian virtues that make the person completely mature.”

He concluded by highlighting the “many and precious opportunities that sport can offer youth pastoral care.”

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-27497?l=english

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