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Pope Francis tells members of a Roman rowing club that the spirit of true sport can cultivate human friendship and act as an important antidote to prevent war.
During an audience with members of a Roman rowing club on Saturday, Pope Francis referred again to the ongoing war in Ukraine with all its horrors, which he said cannot be forgotten and remind us the cruelty of which humanity is capable.
Promoting human friendship
Speaking to the members the “Reale Circolo Canottieri Tevere Remo” on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of its foundation, he remarked that the spirit of true sport is an important antidote to help prevent war.
“Cultivating human friendship prepares us not to fall into this tragedy and to think of the victims.”
Healthy competition vs. logic of profit
Pope Francis noted that “the values of healthy competition, friendship and solidarity” are best expressed in amateur sport, noting that professional sport is more likely to be conditioned by “the logic of profit and of exasperated competition” which can even lead to violence.
He therefore encouraged the members of the rowing club “to persevere so that through sport activity children, young people and adults can cultivate the essential values of love for truth and justice, respect for creation, a taste for beauty and goodness, the search for freedom and of peace.“
“If lived out correctly, sporting activity helps to establish good friendships and the building of a more serene and fraternal world, in which one supports and helps each other.”
“Practicing sport with loyalty and a healthy competitive spirit” will “help you face up to the demanding race of life with courage and honesty, with joy and serene faith in the future, stopping to patiently wait for those who are slower and have more difficulty walking," Pope Francis concluded.
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