2019.03.09 Federazione Ciclistica Italiana 2019.03.09 Federazione Ciclistica Italiana 

Pope to Cyclists: Athletes bear witness to potential of the human being

Pope Francis on Saturday meets with those participating in the Annual Congress of the European Cycling Union, telling them they bear witness “to the potential of the human being, created in the image and likeness of God.”

Addressing the participants in the Annual Congress of the European Cycling Union, which on this occasion is also hosting the Assembly of the African Cycling Confederation, Pope Francis noted the strong relationship between Sport and the Church.  He also emphasized how sport can foster excellence because it teaches perseverance, sacrifice, and self-denial.  The Pope continued by saying that, “sport often becomes an opportunity to express with enthusiasm the joy of living and the true satisfaction of having crossed the finishing line.”

Cycling and its virtues

Turning his attention to the discipline of cycling, Pope Francis described how it is one of the sports that, “places emphasis on some virtues, such as patience, integrity, altruism and team spirit.” Indeed, he said, “if we consider road cycling – one of its most common forms – we can see how the whole team works together during the races.”

Sporting Values

During his address, the Pontiff alluded to the many cyclists who have given of their best in their careers combining the qualities of determination and solidarity.  They have borne witness, the Pope underlined, to “the potential of the human being, created in the image and likeness of God, and the beauty of living in communion with others and with creation.”  Athletes, he said, “have this extraordinary opportunity to communicate to everyone, especially young people, the positive values of life and the desire to devote it to the pursuit of high and noble goals.”


But the Pope also drew attention to the fact that when the opposite happens “and sport becomes an end in itself, and the person an instrument at the service of other interests such as prestige and profit, then distortions appear that taint it. I am thinking, he said, of doping, dishonesty, disrespect for oneself and one’s opponents, and corruption.”

Concluding his words, Pope Francis stressed the importance of listening to and accompanying new generations, “without losing sight of the healthy traditions and popular culture that, in many countries of the world, accompanies cycling and its champions.”

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09 March 2019, 13:00