By Vatican News
In his address to the group, Pope Francis noted how this Federation was founded in order to “promote the culture of sport through physical education”.
Sport promotes friendship
“The presence of sports associations in society is not only functional in terms of organizing sports activity”, he continued. “They are also called upon to foster a mentality which, through sport, promotes the integral development of the human person and social friendship”. This, said the Pope, “is a question of understanding and living the practice of sport not only as a source of physical well-being, but as an ideal of a courageous, positive and optimistic life”.
Sport cultivates values
Pope Francis went to say how “sport becomes a formative experience that helps new generations to cultivate the values of life: love for loyalty and justice, the taste for beauty and goodness, the search for freedom and solidarity”.
The Pope also warned that “the sports system sometimes appears to be conditioned by a logic of profit, by an exasperated competitive spirit and, unfortunately, also by violent attitudes”. Faced with these negative aspects, he said, “leaders and athletes animated by Christian faith can bear witness to the humanizing power of the Gospel even in sports environments, and thus contribute to building a more fraternal society”.
Sport builds confidence
Pope Francis concluded with the hope that sports enthusiasts may “always live sport with loyalty and a healthy competitive spirit. This will help you to face the challenges of life with courage and honesty”, he said, “with joy and serene confidence in the future”.