Be good role models to those who admire you.
Pope Francis gave this advice to the Italian soccer squads of Juventus and Lazio on the eve of their final match, the “Italian Cup,” tomorrow in Rome.
Francis told the players that because they are so loved, “this commits you even more to witness the genuine values of sport.”
Acknowledging the importance of sport in our time, and “the fascination and effect that professional soccer has on people, especially on young people,” the Argentine Pope underscored: “You have a notable responsibility.”
“Those who are considered ‘champions,’ he reminded, “become easily points of reference.”
Therefore, he stressed, every match is a test of balance, of self-control, of observance of the rules.
“One who with his behavior is able to give proof of all this, becomes an example for his admirers. It is what I wish for each one of you: to be witnesses of loyalty, of honesty, of harmony and of humanity.”
Lamenting the violence that erupts in sports’ contexts, Francis recommended: “I hope that, to the degree that it is in your power, you will always be able to help the sporting endeavor and remain as such.
He thanked those who personally commit their whole selves, to be a force “of cohesion between sports persons and the whole society.”
Pope Francis concluded, offering blessing, wishing them a good match and reminding them to pray for him.
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