1° SEMINAIRE INTERNATIONAL DU VATICAN
a unique, conscious human activity that engages the entire person through a
series of unified, and structured, bodily gestures that test one's individual
physical abilities, sport has drawn the attention of the Church. In fact, sport,
as an expression of a synchronized action of freedom, will, emotion, and
corporality, manifests a great human undertaking and reveals certain
characteristics of the human person as a creature who longs to transcend the
very limits of his own being.
and sport : a relationship of many years
Church, " expert in humanity " - according to the well noted phrase of
Paul VI - looks benevolently upon sport with its individual, social and cultural
dimensions. giving each one of these a positive evaluation. The Church
recognizes the role that sport can play in perfecting the human person with its
potential to moderate human instinct and its capacity to gather people together
towards a common goal, promoting fellowship, solidarity, and peace through its
universal appeal and ability to draw people from different cultures and
backgrounds together in friendly competition.
vast horizon of positive opportunities confers on sport a generous yield,
especially when it is a human action carried out with respect for the rules and
in a healthy competitive spirit. These sound results are complemented by an
enrichment of the person and of society, in an experience of self satisfaction
as well as the joy of community. In order to have an immediate panorama of the
vast and complex world of sport today, we can borrow from the French author,
Bernard Jeu. According to him, traces of all aspects of reality are to be found
in sport : the aesthetic aspect (because sport is observer); the technical
aspect (because sport is learned); the commercial aspect (because sport is sold
as a good and used to sell many other goods); the political aspect (because
sport exalts cities and nations, while at the same time it can cross boundaries
and frontiers); the medical aspect (because it implies the exercise of the
body), the legal aspect (because without universal rules, competition is not
possible); the religious aspect (because it has religious roots and - as some
claim - has become a modern religions).
this perspective, sport appears as something all encompassing, universal, and of
immense cultural resonance with respect to many other human activities. In fact,
as sport grows in popularity, in practice, and in media presence, it is becoming
a point of convergence for diverse interests, an attractive professional field
of interest, a multidisciplinary school of different ways of thought, a huge
business network, and a phenomenon of our epoch. Furthermore, through its
constant expansion, sport it cuts across and permeates significant sectors of
individual and social life, soliciting and even manipulating new interests,
tender numerous aspects, that were not present in the original and neutral state
of athletic activity.
this imposing phenomenon of modern sport, the Church has not been afraid of
confronting " in a sporting way " - if I may use such a term - this
great challenge. The Church has formulated an original reflection with regards
to sport. and has encouraged its proper practice, first in the area of education
within the Church, and later within the greater realm of civil society.
should be immediately noted here that the Church's " way of thinking "
regarding sport, which began in an initial form and gradually developed with
greater intensity and clarity, has come about by the wise intuition and the
acute sensibility of the supreme pontiffs, independently of their personal
involvement in sports or their predisposition for sporting activity.
fact, the pontiffs throughout the 20th century have shown a special interest in
sport, even if some of their discourses were only for a specific occasion. These
discourses manifest an enlightened perception of the evident value that sport
plays within a modern culture that has been shaped by rapid change in the wake
of the industrial revolution and the subsequent changes in the customs and
lifestyles of the masses, as well as the frantic quest by man to affirm his own
subjectivity and individual freedom.
the sporting phenomena, the pontiffs have outlined a unique synthesis that, at
first glance, does not seem to arise from any one school of thought. It is
founded upon and guided by principles of the moral order pertaining to the
physical well being and the supernatural purpose of the human person. They have
noted the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits that come from the
practice of sport, while, at the same time, they have underlined the risks and
related dangers that derive from serious distortions of fundamental ethical
the years. a sort of Church " doctrine " regarding sport has been
emerging little by little, which is capable of interpreting sporting phenomena,
in the light of the faith, and in connection to the general ethical principles
of the natural and supernatural order. Yet, this set of teachings lass never
been developed to the point of reaching a mature and organic synthesis in an
official Church document.
in the pontifical teachings of the 20th century from Pius X to John Paul II, and
most recently with Pope Benedict XVI, we can find a homogenous and progressive
" corpus " of sporting discourses, to which new content regarding the
ethical, the cultural, and the practice of sport, continue to be added, with
their emphasis on one theme or another, depending on the particular audience
being addressed and their social-cultural context.
preliminary analysis of these papal texts reveals no immediate or explicit
intention to develop an organic formulation of the thought of the Church
regarding sport in a systematic way. In fact, each pontifical intervention was
made within a particular ecclesial context, and deter- mined in great part by
the specific characteristics of the audience, and often tied to a particular
circumstance or the celebration of a particular event or activity within the
Church or within society as a whole.
these exterior factors have determined the quality of these pontifical addresses,
in as much as they were restricted by time from fully developing a theme, or
often limited to essential or practical indications, frequently sparse in
biblical or theological references, and tailored to the audience being addressed.
the present task at hand, that of presenting a vision of sport in the light of
the Magisterium of the Church, I want to mention one word about the method I
will employ. Instead of sticking to a strictly diachronic progression, I will
proceed synchronically. That is, instead of tracing the development of the
Magisterium of the Church in a historical way, I prefer to order this
development according to the major themes of general hermeneutic interest. This
choice will favour a more synthetic understanding of the essential points of the
" thought " of the pontiffs, over and above the precise historic
moment in which each pontifical discourse was delivered.
new direction for sport in light of the council
method should not prevent us from seeing how a certain turning point came about
in this development, even if the substance of the papal teaching maintained its
overall continuity. We can see this in the wake of the intense theological and
pastoral development of the Second Vatican Council. It was there, within the
broader context of the relationship between the Church and the world, that the
Church examined the sporting phenomenon in order to determine the emerging
factors produced by these cultural changes. The Council reflected on the urgent
need for spiritual development of trainers and athletes.
discussed the manifestations of those things that degrade sport, such as
violence, doping, and commercialization. These are complex phenomena, fruit of
an osmosis between sport and society, that require further reflection and study.
Council marked a turning point and revealed a wider vision on the part of the
Church towards sports. The perspective of the Council evaluates the new
complexities of sport today with all of its multifaceted elements which can no
longer be contained by the explicit canons of scholasticism due to their
complexity and breadth.
is now a global reality that intertwines a countless number of social, economic,
and even medical-pharmaceutical components. It is now enhanced by technology,
and has made its triumphal entry into the field of television.
of this, the world of sport is now seen in a new perspective. The player, once
the only protagonist, is now subjected to the contradictions that these external
factors impose on sport, such as the massive investments of sponsors, the
embellishment of the game in order to appeal to the mass of spectators, or the
media driven time constraints of the game itself. The end result is that the
player himself often feels like a prisoner in his own game.
the athlete and his profession are undergoing an anthropological and aesthetical
metamorphosis. Little by little, his former status as a player - one who once
trained anonymously - has been converted into that of the superstar of the
stadium and a media celebrity. The athlete has become a hero, honored and
worshipped as the unique object of the spasmodic outbursts of the crowds of fans
who hold him up as if he were a mythic figure to imitate. Drawing upon not only
his personal success, but also on the huge success of this business, the athlete
has become a " new product " subject to the laws of consumer
consumption. Sophisticated and attractive as an elite public celebrity. the
athlete is always " in form " and continually in the spotlight.
the popularity of sport increases its influence over the masses, the attraction
of its success tends to turn sport into a gimmick, a mere pretence that can
easily draw millions of people whether spectators, consumers, or venders, who,
without any critical eye, swallow this tip in a process that is ever more void
of any real significance or value.
the work of the Council, and in particular when drawing up the pastoral
constitution Gaudium et spes, the topic of sport entered the discussion for the
first times. The debate concluded with the decision to incorporate this topic
into paragraph 61 of the chapter entitled, " The proper development of
culture ". In this number, the Council recognized that " physical
exercise and sport help to create harmony of feeling even on the level of the
community as well as foster friendly relations between men of all classes,
countries, and races ".
fact assumes historical relevance and reveals a new approach as it situates
sport among those activities which are at the very heart of a culture. This
placement, while offering sport unexpected attention, at the same time enabled a
more precise, dynamic and critical interpretation of it that is in step with the
rapid changes of the time. In this way, the new horizon opened by the Council
led the Church right into the middle of the phenomenon of sport, together with
its potential for good as well as its contradictions, facilitating a necessary
dialogue, as well as an even more necessary " evangelisation " of this
" new areopagus ".
Church's genuine interest in sport
this perspective, it is good to briefly pause to ask why the Church was, and
continues to be concerned about sport. Certainly it is not for its own sporting
interest or any other social interest. The Church is above all concerned about
the human person: the profound destiny of humanity and the mission of revealing
to all people
the only Saviour, Jesus Christ and the identification with his way of life as
the path to salvation.
With the specific reference made to the " sports person " and
to " sporting activity ", the Church has expressed a wise and
convincing theological and spiritual doctrine that overcomes the spiritual or
material dualism that have often impeded an objective and comprehensive
understanding of sport. At the same time, the Church provides concrete points of
application regarding its practice.
inquiry about the ultimate meaning of sport for the Church was expressly made by
Pius XII. In an address to Roman athletes, Pius XII applied St. Paul's
exhortation, " whether you eat or drink, what- ever it is that you do, do
it all for the glory of God ( 1 Cor 10:31
) to all physical activity and this consequently includes sport. In fact
he boldly exclaims: " How can the Church not be interested in sport? "
By this rhetorical question he intended to dispel the lurking opinions that
rejected the idea that the Church could have any interest whatsoever in the
practice of sport.
this point well established, it can then be more readily stated that the Church
" sees in sport a gymnasium of the spirit, a means to exercise moral
education; and because of this it admires, approves, and encourages the practice
of sport in its various forms, that of youth sports whose practice harmonically
develops the body in its physical potential, as well as the competitive sport
". The Church's interest, then, is directed to man and the temporal
dimension of his life. Motivated by a genuine care for the person, in both his
or her physical and spiritual well-being, the Church also has concern for sport
in as much as it is " ordered to the intellectual and moral perfection of
the soul ".
better understand the reason behind the Church's interest for sport, we will
take a look at some of the most salient moments in which the Church has
manifested this attention. It is not the mere question of " what does the
Church think about sport ", as if the Church were simply a public opinion
agency. No. Rather, the question must be " how does the Church realize her
mission in sport? " in as much as the Church as a community of witnesses of
the Risen Christ announces the message of salvation even within the world of
goal of sport is the good of the person.
of the continual themes throughout the teaching of the Church regarding sport is
the expression of utmost concern in safe-guarding the integrity of the human
person. This is a line of thought that is rooted in Christian anthropology and
the social doctrine of the Church, especially the principles of subsidiaries and
solidarity. In light of the inalienable value of the dignity and integrity of
the person as a unity of body and soul, the Church asks sport not only to
respect the identity of the person, but also to allow the individual to develop
his or her full potential with regard to God's plan for his or her life.
sport, the human body is the " instrument " ; the body is not an end
in itself. Pius XII clarifies this in a noted discourse on the four purposed of
sport, where he states: " sport and gymnastics have, as
their immediate purposes, that of the education, development, and
strengthening of the body in its constitution and power of movement.
their more remote purpose, you have the use made, by the soul, of the body so
prepared, for the development of the interior or exterior life of the person; as
their still deeper purpose, that of contributing to its perfection; and lastly,
there is the supreme purpose of man as man, the goal common to every form of
human activity - that of bringing man loser to God ". Outlining these
fundamental " ends " enables one to better determine sport's global
value for the Church. These four purposes of sport constitute an essential
nucleus that can be understood in light of an underlying " theology of the
body ". In fact, it is the theological and spiritual elaboration of this
theme that engages a dynamic hermeneutic that draws from divine Revelation. From
this we can deduce that the true theological motivation is founded on a
Christian anthropology that is not in anyway juxtaposed to the original plan of
God the Creator, but rather, substantially linked to it.
Pius XII also noted: " The human body is, in its own right, God's
masterpiece in the order of visible creation. The Lord has intended that it
should flourish here below and enjoy immortality in the glory of heaven.
He has linked it to spirit in the unity of the human nature, to give to
the soul a taste of the enchantment of the works of God's hands, to help it to
see the Creator of them both in his mirror, and so to know, adore and love Him
the emphasis is placed on the value of the body and its role within God's plan
and its auxiliary function with regard to the soul. In this way, sport itself
becomes a precious instrument in promoting " the formation of the complete
man and the perfect Christian who thinks and arts according to reason
enlightened by the faith ".
an even greater attention and sensibility to the conquests of modern scientific
research, John Paul II made the following observation that places the person at
the very centre of this activity. He states: " Sport, as you well know, is
an activity that involves more than the movement of the body; it demands use of
intelligence and the disciplining of the will. It reveals, in other words, the
wonderful structure of the human person created by God as a spiritual being, a
unity of body and spirit. Athletic activity can help every man and woman to
recall that moment when God the Creator gave origin to the human person, the
masterpiece of his creative work ".
In synthesis. the Magisterium places the human person at the centre of
sporting activity, by which his person becomes " perfected " through
the simultaneous convergence of all of the human faculties.
person is the irreplaceable, invaluable, and indispensable point of reference
for every sporting activity. In this way, sport is directly and synthetically
linked to the true identity of the person, as he or she was originally created,
and destined for glory.
in need of " redemption"
other human actions, sport can be subject to ambiguous or negative uses that
jeopardize its commitment to the integrity of the human person. Pontifical
teachings clearly point out the fragility, weakness and ethical contradictions
that are present not only in sport itself, but are also found in the person who
plays sports and in sporting institutions.
know well that the person who engages in sport is a sinner like anyone else, and
this condition is revealed not only on an individual level but also on a
structural level. The task at hand is not a question of simply identifying the
" sins " of sport, but of discerning the good wheat from the weeds
that are scattered throughout the vast field of sport with all of its complex
and multiform activities in the light of an ethic that is rooted in revelation
and the fundamental event of salvation.
of this, it is quite understandable that the attention of the Church towards the
world of sport and athletes has always been characterized by its care to
safeguard God's original plan for man which is his sanctification according to
the mysterious design of God, manifested in the salvific mission of Jesus
is present in sport as a sign of fallen human nature. If sport can be seen as a
" metaphor of life ", it is also accompanied by deviations which
appear as cracks in a mirror. These reveal the pressing need for what some have
called the " conversion of sport ". Sport, which makes up a part of
the " all " of that humanity which has been called to salvation in
Jesus Christ, is also in need of redemption. Based on the Pauline doctrine of
the body, the Pontiffs have often expressed a vigorous appeal for athletes to be
aware that they are " temples of the
Holy Spirit " and to " glorify God in their bodies " (Cf.
1 Cor 6: 13-20),
exercising a prophetic witness through their good example.
example of such an appeal was the prayer made by John Paul II at the end of his
homily during the Sports Jubilee of 2000, in which the
Holy Father prayed with these words: " Jesus, Son of David, have
pity on me! " The Pope's example of prayer was a compelling lesson for the
vast crowds of sports men and women packed into Rome's Olympic stadium. He then
directed everyone's focus to Christ, the " true athlete of God ",
underlining his intention of proposing Jesus as the effective model for our
lives. In the words that followed, the Holy Father referred to Christ as "
the more powerful one (cf. Mk 1 :7), who for our sake confronted and defeated
the " opponent ", Satan, by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus
inaugurating the kingdom of God. He teaches us that to enter into glory we must
undergo suffering " (cf. Lk 24: 26, 46). By means of the incarnation, sport
too is included in the saving work of the redemption, as the very action of a
Holy Father went on to note that while it is important to identify and promote
the many positive aspects of sport, it is only right to also recognize the
various transgressions to which it can succumb. He went on to say that "
the educational and spiritual potential of sport must make believers and people
of good will united and determined in challenging every distorted aspect that
can intrude, recognizing it as a phenomenon opposed to the full development of
the individual and to his enjoyment of life. Every care must be taken to protect
the human body from any attack on its integrity, from any exploitation and from
any idolatry. There must be a willingness to ask forgiveness ".
Church clearly recognises the inherent value of sport, but, at the same time,
expresses concern for the true authenticity of sport.
Church is attentive to the possible deviations that contradict sport's true
purpose and, worse still, that harm the integrity of the per- son. Because of
this, sport is also placed within the realm of human activities that are in need
as an ascetic path to human and Christian virtues
ascetical dimension has always been recognized and the pontiffs have affirmed
this often and in numerous ways. As John Paul II noted, " Christian life is
like a rather demanding sport, combining all a person's energies to direct them
towards the perfection of character, towards a goal which realizes in our
humanity 'the measure of Christ's gift' (Eph 4:7) ''. They have exhorted
athletes to pursue the sporting ideal, but above all, they have invited them to
broaden their perspective of sport so as to include the pursuit of the moral
ideals of excellence, and thus reach their integral perfection.
philosophy taught that " the truth is always in the soul ".
Accordingly, every human action cannot but manifest the ontological
nature of man, since this is the goal towards which all his actions are
ultimately directed is a spiritual being. When sport harmoniously enters this
process of authentic personal growth, and does so as a practice that is
conscious of reaching its goal only through a gradual process of learning that
is both interior and exterior, it consequently engages the interior dynamism of
" arete " or virtue, as a habit that is practiced in personal and
virtue is not reached without acknowledging the soul and without acting
accordingly and coherently with this knowledge. Consequently, virtue is the
result of an active apprenticeship, just as a skill is acquired in sport. In
fact, the relationship between virtue and sport is richly revealed and affirmed
in the experience of sport that engages the entire person in all of their
faculties and at all levels, whether at the highest level, or the most basic.
For it is in playing that we most easily learn how to dominate our passions and
orientate them towards a higher goal.
of this, Pius XII taught that the discipline of sport becomes a kind of exercise
of human and Christian virtues. In like manner, Paul VI saw sport as a way to
teach moral education and asceticism, stating: " There is not a better
school for teaching fairness than the exercise of sport for it despises any
attempt of cheating as unsportsmanlike. And what asceticism ! What an antidote
against laziness, indolence and idleness. There is no teacher more demanding
than that of sport ! How much discipline, how much sacrifice, how much self
dominion, courage, and tenacity is required! " Thus we can say that there
can be found in these writings on sporting activity an explicit reference to
asceticism and the moral life, in as much as these are present in the
intentionality of Christian action.
this way, sport assumes in its historical and anthropological dimension a model
of moral action that is especially related to the gratuitous gift of self.
as a valuable educational tool
Church's teaching regarding sports activity is above all centred in a systematic
way on its educational potential and finds in it a means for the integral
development of the person. This line of thought is in fact common to all of the
papal discourses, whether those that pinpoint sport as a privileged "
instrument " for the betterment of the person, or, those that seek to
protect the human person from deviations in sport that involve ends that are
merely consumerism, materialistic, or even abusive to the body.
goal then is to awaken by means of a sport that is ever more attentive and
responsible. a consciousness of the value of the body in reference to the
complete fulfilment of oneself in light of salvation.
is, it seeks to take into consideration both the bodily dimension while at the
same time being attentive to the promptings of the spirit and above that these
are two components that constitute one and the same person. It is precisely
because of this, that the Church tends to include sporting activity as in
integral part of its pedagogical program.
primary objective is not simply to foster sports activities for their own sake,
but to provide the conditions for building integral characters who can face the
drama of life. In fact, when viewed within a moral perspective, life becomes a
competition, a fight and a challenge.
this sense. the teachings of the Magisterium reveal an educative potential of
sport that gradually develops in the very practice of this activity. This
potential is further verified in their positive behaviour and the fostering of
criteria aimed at the development of the subject's personality in accordance
with their individual freedom.
in a society of deep-seated changes The sportsman pope, John Paul II,
magnificently elevated sport to a level that was never before considered by the
Church. For this much venerated Pontiff, sport had become a " sign of the
times ". By assigning sport this special category used during the Vatican
II Council, he credits sport with a value of important significance in the
promotion of the person and opened the door to subsequent reflection in the
relationship between sport and spirituality. " In recent years [sport] has
continued to grow even more as one of the characteristic phenomena of the modern
era, almost a " sign of the times " capable of interpreting humanity's
new needs and new expectations ". By placing
sport in the category of a phenomenon of the modern era, the Pope also
recognizes its cultural and civil value.
this way, sport conveys a meaning that exceeds the mere practice of sport, in as
much as it is capable of interpreting life and giving it new meaning in relation
to the mystery of the human person. Consequently, the spiritual dimension of
sport is fully recovered not as something added on to sport from the outside,
but rather, as an intrinsic quality that the sports person manifests in and
through the visible gestures of sport.
the other hand, the global and cultural dimension of sport reveals a new
perspective that entails new consequences for human interaction as well as with
respect to the many functions inherent to it.
with a language composed of physical gestures that are universally comprehended,
crosses over national barriers and constitutes a common denominator that is
capable of uniting the entire human community. Because of this, John Paul II
urged those involved in this activity " to make sports an opportunity for
meeting and dialogue, over and above every barrier of language, race or
culture.. ". He went on to point out that " Sports, in fact, can make
an effective contribution to peaceful understanding between peoples and to
establishing the new civilization of love ".
indications on the part of the Magisterium requires us to seek a deeper
understanding of the new global dimension of sport and the consequent openness
on the part of the Church to these phenomena. This demands careful observation
in order to discover the opportunities that present themselves when one
contemplates the complex " galaxy " that sport creates. It demands
that we look beyond sport itself, to that which it represents symbolically, and
to the opportunities that spring up around sport and as a consequence of it.
this way, the intuition that sport is a cultural phenomenon and an event rich in
symbolism and new significance that is valid for the entire world, clearly
stands out and calls for a new response. In fact, it calls for a rethinking of a
" philosophy " of sport that is adequate for today's multiethnic,
multicultural society in the midst of globalization.
of this, sport needs a time of conversion. It needs to rediscover itself by
means of the exercise of an ongoing spiritual and cultural self-analysis. The
essential lines laid out by the pontiffs are directed towards the recovery of a
" soul " in sport that can reactivate the mental and spiritual
dimensions of the athlete and render sport more capable of realizing its
prominent role of transforming society.
the words of John Paul II assume a prophetic tone as well as mark a path to
follow: " Sport, without losing its true nature, can answer the needs of
our time: sport that protects the weak and excludes no one, that frees young
people from the snares of apathy and indifference, and arouses a healthy sense
of competition in them; sport that is a factor of emancipation for poorer
countries and helps to eradicate intolerance and build a more fraternal and
united world; sport which contributes to the love of life, teaches sacrifice,
respect and responsibility, leading to the full development of every human
person. " The deeper meaning that emerges from the words of the Pontiff
shed light on a double challenge that faces sport. On one hand, there is the
task of making use of the universally recognized potential of sport in all its
facets to build a more just and fraternal society. On the other hand, lies the
task of safeguarding a sport that is rich in human values and determined to
reform itself so as to better respond to the integral well being of the person.
In a world of profound change, and in need of values and meaning, these are two
very concrete tasks that form the basis of a renovated ethical program for the
entire sport system. Here, each and every sports person, organism, and
institution have their own proper and specific responsibility that they must
carry out to the degree in which they bear a social and cultural relevance on
Church " takes the field " From here we deduce the essential
legitimacy of the Church's new task. If the Church seems so interested in sport
it is because of the wise and far-sighted discovery of sport as an authentic and
appropriate space for special pastoral care and attention.
can see the Church's desire to dialogue with the world of sport and to encourage
this practice. This dialogue has been initiated for good reason. Paul VI
perceived the urgency of opening up the doors of the Church to the modern world
and saw in sport a field that the Church needs to consciously enter. It does so
" with the soul filled with goodness " and because of the mission of
" taking all that is beautiful, harmonious, balanced and strong in our
human nature and elevating it ". He also invited those involved in sport to
" discern the criteria for determining its true values and with this same
criteria to be committed to engage in dialogue with the world today ". In
this way, the Church gazes at the complex sporting phenomena, ready and willing
to listen to the language of sport and to respond accordingly with a Christian
vision that accepts, assumes, perfects and elevates the good in sport, intoning,
in this way, an authentic song of life.
between the Church and sport produces a specific and competent response on the
part of the Church: a " pastoral ministry of sport " that seeks
nothing less than a true and proper evangelization.
us to take action in the field of sport. John Paul II stated: " the Church
must be on the front line in order to develop a pastoral ministry that knows how
to respond to the needs of sportsmen and to, above all, promote a sport that can
create conditions for a life rich in hope ".
here emerges a new approach to sport on the part of the Church. It is not
limited to simply encouraging a practice of sport that is in accordance with
human and Christian virtues. Rather, this new approach seeks to announce the
gospel of salvation from " within " this modern areopagus of sport in
order to achieve a motivated and self- conscious
" conversion "
the twentieth century, the consistent teaching of the pontiffs regarding sport
has come to form a complex vision that can be synthetically outlined in three
phases: the first is the identification of the ethical content in the practice
of sport ; the second phase, consequently, is that of specifying the inherent
and constitutive criteria used in forming and educating the person by means of
sporting activity ; and lastly, that which directly involves the mission of the
Church, the exploration of the multiple ways in which sport can be a vehicle for
the proclamation of the gospel.
Magisterium, while it does not enter into the specific questions of each
singular sport's discipline, it nonetheless seeks to point out the opportunities
and the potential within sport to contribute to the ongoing project of the
integral development of the person, to promote the good example of champions,
and to reflect on the role of sport within a society that has ever more global
horizons. In conclusion, we can affirm that the " corpus " of papal
discourses offers the nucleus for a vision of sport that values sporting
activity in all of its complexity and in its totality, whether in the natural
order, or in the light of the " history of salvation ".