Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Vatican on the Playing Field

Pope John Paul II recently announced that the Vatican will be taking a more active role in the world of sports. The Vatican will be setting up a new sports department. Despite the fact that the Vatican is sort of an independent country, this does not mean that the Vatican will now be sending a team to Athens for the Olympics or participating in the next Euro Cup. Rather, the Vatican hopes to participate more actively in the world’s sports discussions as a means of spreading Christian values. The Vatican hopes to promote the “testimony of Christian life” from the sporting world.

A Vatican spokesman said, “The church, which has always shown particular attention to various and important sectors of human coexistence, is called upon without doubt to pay attention to sports, which certainly can be considered one of the nerve centers of contemporary culture and one of the frontiers for new evangelization.” The spokesman continued, “Tendencies that have distanced more and more the practice of various disciplines from the original ideals of sports pose with urgency the need to appeal to fundamental values in this field.”

No word yet if one of the chief goals of the Vatican’s new sports department will be to restore a winning tradition to the University of Notre Dame football team. But, if I were on the Pope’s committee, I would put this to the top of the agenda. Seriously though, I think the establishment of a Vatican sports department is an interesting and worthwhile endeavor. I wholeheartedly agree that positive influences from the world of sports can be a great force for good in many cultures.