The Holy Father affirmed the call of the Christian to be a witness to Christ in sports, to 7000 participants in a meeting promoted by the Italian Sporting Center, at the Paul VI Hall.
"Each one of you is called to follow Christ and to be His witness in the field of sports," said the Pope, and, he added, "'practicing' sports, not just 'talking about sports', helps us rediscover the full truth about the human person."
He noted that CSI, the Italian acronym for this group, was born 60 years ago "to propose to the youth of the time, so marked by the sad consequences of World War II, that practicing sports is not only a source of physical well-being but also an ideal of a courageous, positive, optimistic life, a means of integral renewal of the person and of society."
Since it’s birth, CSI "has worked so that children, young people and adults can know, through various sports disciplines, the richness and beauty of the Gospel," said the Pope.
John Paul II stated that CSI's efforts to promote sports "will help the new generations to choose and to cultivate the authentic values of life: love for truth and justice, a taste for beauty and goodness, the search for authentic freedom and peace."
"In our times," he said, "the sports system often seems conditioned by the logic of profit, of spectacle, of doping, of extreme sports and episodes of violence. It is your duty to proclaim and give witness to the humanizing force of the Gospel with regards to the practice of sports which, if lived according to the Christian vision, becomes a 'generating principle' of deep human relations, and favors the building of a more serene world, one of greater solidarity."