15 May 2019
“Saving Sport”

Church and sport – an essential combination

Santiago Pérez de Camino, head of the Church and Sport Office, participates in the study day organized by LUMSA

On May 8th, the Catholic university LUMSA (Libera Università Maria Ss. Assunta, Rome) held a day of study entitled “Saving Sport: A sport to save”, attended by Santiago Pérez de Camino, head of the Church and Sport Office of the Dicastery.

Sport, in post-modern society, is at the end of a period of history with new challenges arising that require new responses. Sports risk an uncontrollable decline if it does not call upon the best human efforts to preserve it from a regression with no return. The Church has much to say in this regard, explained Pérez de Camino in his presentation.

The Church without sport loses a unique way of evangelization, especially in the physical or existential “peripheries”. But even sport needs ethical and virtuous guidance, the Christian message that spreads throughout the Church, so as not to lose sight of the true meaning of the practice of sport.

Citing the Holy See’s first document on sport “Giving the best of yourself”, published by the Dicastery last June, the head of the Church and Sport Office reiterated the challenges that sports suffer when it forgets or puts aside the human being and, perhaps, seeks economic gain or victory at all costs. As a result, the problems of doping, corruption, violence in sport or the debasement of the body arise.

Instead, when sport is practiced well and puts the human being at the center, it becomes a means of meeting and formation. It is a place where many virtues are highlighted, such as generosity, sacrifice, teamwork, freedom or solidarity, and the search for the good that can lead to transcendence, to the mystery of God. This is why Christians are called, all in their own role (players, coaches, managers, parents or supporters), to testify, also in the practice of sport, the true meaning of his or her life, which is nothing more than following and imitating Jesus Christ.