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Pope's Address to Germany's National Soccer Squad

“Competitive sport requires not only much discipline and personal sacrifice, but also respect for one’s neighbor and a team spirit … [and] leads you to recognize your responsibility beyond the soccer field, especially towards young people who often take you as a role model”

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Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address to Germany’s national soccer squad, Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft, whom he received this morning in the Vatican:
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Gentlemen and Ladies,
I am happy to greet the soccer world champions present here in the Vatican. I thank their president, Mr. Grindel, and captain, Mr. Neuer, for their kind words.
I have often heard that your victories are team victories. Therefore, Mannschaft has become a common description of your group. In fact, 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 as “Mannschaft” 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. And it also leads you to commit yourselves together 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. 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.
I thank you for your visit and I wish you every good for your sports and social activity. I ask you, please, to pray for me and I give each of you and your families my heartfelt blessing.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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