SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
AT THE GYMNASTICS FEDERATION OF ITALY
Hall of the Consistory
Saturday, 28 September 2019
Welcome to this meeting, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of your institution, founded to promote the culture of sport through physical education. I greet you all and thank your President for his words.
The presence of sports associations in society is not only functional in organizing sports activities. They are also called to foster a mentality that, through sport, promotes the integral development of the human person and social friendship. It is about understanding and living sport not only as a source of physical well-being, but as a courageous, positive and optimistic life ideal. In this sense, sport becomes an educational experience that helps the new generations above all to cultivate the values of life: the love for loyalty and justice, the taste for beauty and goodness, the search for freedom and solidarity.
Nowadays the sport system appears at times to be conditioned by profit logic, by an exaggerated competitive spirit and, unfortunately, also by violent attitudes. Three bad things: profit, exaggerated competition and sometimes violent attitudes. And all three of these ugly attitudes lack one thing: the amateur dimension of sport. When sport loses the amateur dimension these attitudes come out, which lower the level of sport. Faced with these negative aspects, the leaders and athletes animated by the Christian faith can testify to the humanizing power of the Gospel even in sports circles, and thus contribute to building a more fraternal society.
This is what I wish you too on this anniversary. May you always live the sport with loyalty and a healthy competitive spirit, without losing the amateur inspiration. This will help you to face the races of life with courage and honesty, with joy and serene trust in the future. I entrust your Federation to the Lord and I bless you. Please, I ask you to pray for me. Thanks!
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation