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Pope to Soccer Players: Remember the Young Look to You

Meeting Germany’s National Squad, Francis Reminds Them to Respect, Be Respectable

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Remember your are role models for so many young people and children, and the great responsibility this entails…
This was at the heart of Pope Francis’ address to Germany’s national soccer squad, Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft, when he received them in audience this morning in the Vatican.
In his remarks, the Argentine Pontiff acknowledged that competitive sport requires not only much discipline and personal sacrifice, but also respect for one’s neighbor and a team spirit.
“This leads you to success,» Francis pointed out, and «at the same time, it leads you to recognize your responsibility beyond the soccer field, especially towards young people who often take you as a model.”
The Holy Father went on to thank them for the charitable ways they help support children and young people, and their commitments to «some important social objectives.»
«In this realm, I am especially pleased with your supporting the ‘Sternsinger,’ the Star Singers, to concretely help children and young people of poor countries,” he said, noting, «such an initiative shows how it is possible to overcome barriers together, which seem insurmountable and seem to penalize needy and marginalized persons.»
«In this way, you also contribute to the building of a more just and solidaristic society.”
Pope Francis concluded, thanking them for their visit and wishing them all the best for their sports and social activities. He also asked them to pray for him and offered his “heartfelt blessing” to them and their families.
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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': or

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