The Pontifical Council for the Laity hopes that its new section, Church and Sports, will help promote sport “as a school of virtue” and as an “instrument of peace throughout the nations.”
Intent on showing the solicitude of the Holy See in the world of sports, Pope John Paul II recently created the new section within the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
“The Vatican recognizes the the very important role of sports in the world today,” reads a Vatican statement. “The next Olympics in Athens and the millions of people who will watch them around the world is another sign of how important sports are in the world.”
However, the Vatican also points out that certain tendencies have distanced the world of sports from its original ideals. Therefore, says the Vatican, there is an urgent need to recall the fundamental values in this area.
“The Church, which has always shown particular attention to the varied and important areas of human life, is called to concern itself also of the world of sports, which certainly can be considered one of the central aspects of contemporary culture and one of the frontiers of the New Evangelization,” said the statement.
Church and Sports has been mandated to serve as a reference point for national and international sports organizations. It is also mandated to sensitize local churches of the need to provide pastoral care in sports environments and to encourage collaboration among Catholic sports associations.
Church and Sports will also work to encourage a sports culture that will promote sport as a way to develop as a whole person and as an instrument at the service of peace and brotherhood between nations.
In addition, it will encourage the study of themes related to sport, such as ethics and sport, and organize initiatives that will invite athletes to witness to Christian living in sport.