Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 20 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Pope to Interfaith Soccer Players: Religion and Sport Can Collaborate for Peace

© VINCENZO PINTO / AFP

CITE DU VATICAN, Vatican City : Pope Francis receives the "match for peace" trophy as he arrives in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on September 1, 2014 to meet organizers, players and guests of the inter religious "match for peace" football game, to be played tonight at Rome's Olympic Stadium. AFP PHOTO / Vincenzo PINTO

Vatican Radio - published on 09/01/14

Sporting event will show it is possible to "build a culture of encounter and a world of peace,” Francis says.

An Interreligious Soccer Match for Peace—an initiative desired by Pope Francis—will take place Monday night at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.  The 50-some former and current professional players to take part in the game were received by the Pope in the Vatican Monday afternoon (see photo).

“Tonight’s sporting event,” said Pope Francis, “is a highly symbolic gesture to show that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace, where believers of different religions, preserving their identities …can live together in harmony and reciprocal respect.”

The Pope said to “discriminate”  is the same as “contempt” and that with tonight’s match, the players are saying “no to all discrimination.”

“Religions,” he added, are called to be vehicles of peace and never of hatred.” 

“Religion and sport,” he concluded, “can collaborate and offer to all of society eloquent signs of this new era in which people ‘will never again raise the sword one against another.'”

Proceeds from the match will go to “Scholas Occurrentes,” an educational institution that promotes social integration and to “P.U.P.I,” a non-profit long-distance adoption charity which helps disadvantaged young people.

In a video message for Brazil’s World Cup Soccer championship earlier this year, Pope Francis said "Soccer can and should be a school that promotes a 'culture of encounter.' One that leads to harmony and peace between peoples.”

With that idea in mind, the Pontifical Council for Culture, together with international Catholic sports associations, has organized a two day seminar to coincide with Monday’s big game—to reflect on the theme: “Sport at the Service of Humanity.”

Organizers want the debate to focus on sports as a means of encounter and dialogue rather than what it seems, in many cases, to have become: a lucrative business for a lucky few and a place for winner-takes-all competitiveness. It’s time in our highly consumeristic society, they say, to replace the money and the medals with the human being.

One of the objectives of the seminar is preparing for the international Vatican Global Conference on Sport and Faith to be held in the Vatican in September next year.

Participants at this week’s seminar will be rooting for players of different faiths at Monday night’s match. Retired captain of Argentina’s national soccer team and Italy’s Inter, Javier Zanetti will be playing in the match, organized in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.

Zanetti says it comes as the “explicit wish of Pope Francis,” and describes the soccer match as “a symbolic gesture to help people understand that it is possible to build a world of peace, based on dialogue and respect for others.”

Tags:
Pope FrancisSports

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
3
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
4
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
5
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
6
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
7
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.