Pope sends greetings to EURO2012Monday, June 11st, 2012
Benedict XVI has sent a message to Archbishop Jozef Michalik, president of the Polish Episcopal Conference, for the European Football Championships, which is being held in Poland and Ukraine.
"This sporting event involves not only the organisers, the athletes and the fans but, in various ways, the whole of society", the Pope writes. "The Church cannot remain indifferent to such an event and in particular to the spiritual needs of the participants.”
Benedict XVI quoted words of Blessed John Paul II, who said, "The potentialities of sport make it an important instrument for the overall development of the person, and a useful factor for the construction of a more human society.”
This is because, "The sense of brotherhood, magnanimity, honesty and respect for the body, virtues which are undoubtedly indispensable for every good athlete, contribute to building a civil society where competition replaces antagonism, where agreement replaces conflict and loyal confrontation replaces rancorous opposition.”
Pope Benedict continued, "Team sports, such as football, are an important way to educate people to respect one another including their adversaries, to show a spirit of personal sacrifice for the good of the entire group, and to respect the gifts of each member of the team; in a word, to overcome the logic of individualism and selfishness which often characterise human dealings, and so leave space for the logic of fraternity and love, the only thing capable of authentically promoting the common good, at all levels.”
The Pope concludes his message by encouraging participants in the championships, "to work to ensure that this event is experienced as an expression of the most noble human virtues and actions, in a spirit of joy and peace.”
by Gerard Bennett (source: ICN)