Vatican Conference Explores Faith and Sports Nexus

Vatican Conference Explores Faith and Sports Nexus

As preparations intensify for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, 206 nations are gearing up to send their top athletes, while the Vatican is organizing an event to explore the connection between the Catholic Church and sports from spiritual and anthropological perspectives.

Florence Mangin, the ambassador of France to the Holy See, highlighted the significance of Olympism as a message of peace amidst global conflicts. She emphasized the crucial role of both the universal Church and France in promoting Olympism.

The upcoming three-day international conference titled "Putting Our Lives on the Line," organized jointly by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education and the Embassy of France to the Holy See, is scheduled for May 16-18 at the Institut Français Centre Saint Louis in Rome, adjacent to Piazza Navona.

During the press conference, Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, acknowledged the initial surprise at a sports conference organized by a Vatican Dicastery. He emphasized Pope Francis's comparison of sport to holiness, illustrating the profound connections between sport and spirituality.

The conference aims to delve into contemporary sports' popularity, risks, and societal impact, seeking to build a more fraternal, tolerant, and equitable society.

Around 200 participants, including Vatican representatives, athletes, sports club managers, journalists, academics, pastoral representatives from various European dioceses, and philosophers, will engage in roundtable discussions.

Mendonça emphasized the conference's core questions: What can sport teach the Church? What can the Church impart to sport?

The first day will explore the theme "Church and Sport: A Relationship We Need to Deepen," addressing topics like "The Church at the Olympic Games," "Sport in the Parish," and "Catholic Schools and Sport."

The second day will adopt a philosophical and anthropological approach, examining the interplay between mind, body, and sport through discussions such as "Sport: A Challenge for Humanization," "Resurrection of the Body through Sport," and "Disappearance of the Self and the Body."

Mangin highlighted the technicalization of sports and the evolving human body, particularly showcased by Paralympic athletes, which prompts reflections on the enhancement of human capabilities.

The conference will culminate on May 18 with "The Relay Race of Solidarity" at Rome’s Circus Maximus, symbolizing unity and shared purpose.

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