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Pope Reminds NFL Players Values Are Needed on Field and in Lives

Francis Tells American Pro Football Hall of Fame ‘How Greatly Our World Needs This Culture of Encounter!’

Values are to be embodied on the field, but also in all aspects of one’s life.

Pope Francis gave this reminder to members of the National Football League when meeting them before his weekly General Audience today, June 21, 2017, in the Vatican.

Welcoming members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame to the Vatican, the Argentine Pontiff joked: “As many of you know, I am an avid follower of “football”, but where I come from, the game is played very differently!”

Traditional values of sportsmanship, the Holy Father underscored, are to be embodied, both on the field and in one’s own lives, within families and communities.


“Our world, and especially our young people, need models, persons who show us how to bring out the best in ourselves, to use our God-given gifts and talents, and, in so doing, to point the way to a better future for our societies.”

Noting that teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence, are values, or in a religious sense, ‘virtues,’ that have guided them on the field, Francis stressed, these same values are “urgently needed off the field, on all levels of our life as a community.”

“They are the values,” he explained, “that help build a culture of encounter, in which we anticipate and meet the needs of our brothers and sisters, and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family.”

“How greatly our world needs this culture of encounter!”

Pope Francis concluded, wishing them a fruitful visit in the Eternal City, and invoking upon them God’s blessings of joy and peace.

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About Deborah Castellano Lubov

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