Pope to Italian Olympic Committee: Words to Describe Spiritual Life, Athletics at Times the Same

Sends Best Wishes for 2024 Rome Candidacy for Olympics

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Words related to maintaining a strong spiritual life and persevering in sport are often the same.

Pope Francis made this observation in the Vatican this morning when addressing executives and athletes of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on the occasion of the centenary of its foundation.

Noting their centennial marks an important anniversary for Italian sports, he said, Sport has always favored a universalism characterized by brotherhood and friendship among peoples, peace and harmony among nations» as well as by «respect, tolerance, harmony of diversity.

Through the authority of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) provides discipline, regulation and management of national sports activities. CONI, according to its Web site, is a public entity «responsible for the organization and strengthening of national sports and the promotion of maximum proliferation of sport.» 

«Every sporting event, especially the Olympics, where you gather representatives of nations with different histories, cultures, traditions, beliefs and values,» the Argentine Pontiff said, can open new, sometimes unexpected, routes,» which, he added, can help overcome conflicts caused by the violation of human rights.

Speaking on the International Olympic Committee’s Charter, he lauded its cardinal principles which put at the forefront «the centrality of the person, the harmonious development of man, the defense of human dignity.»

The Olympic motto «Citius, Altius, Fortius,» Francis stated, challenges everyone, not just athletes, to make great efforts, sacrifice, and work toward achieving important goals in life.

At the same time, he said, it calls us to recognize limitations, but still try to surpass them.

The Argentine Pontiff encouraged them to continue promoting sports, especially in schools, and to highlight athletics’ ability to reach out to all people, including the weakest and the poorest of society.

In fact, he reminded the athletes, there are some words that are typical of sports that are also used to explain the effort needed in the spiritual life.

Pope Francis concluded, sending them «Best wishes for Rome’s candidacy to host the Olympic Games in 2024,» but noting «I will not be there!» and wishing them a «Merry Christmas!»


On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full translation: 


CONI Official Site (English version): www.coni.it/en

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation