Pope Francis hailed the unifying power of sports on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The pontiff noted that sport can create “paths of concord among peoples,” at the general audience on April 6, 2022. He warned, however, that in order to maintain this factor all sports must remain “free”.
The comments came after his catechesis in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. The head of the Catholic Church addressed both male and female athletes, wishing them to be “hard-working witnesses of fraternity and peace” through their activity. “Sport, with its values, can play an important role in the world,” he said.
The Bishop of Rome stated that a “true sport” must never lose “its capacity for gratuitousness” or become “commercial”. Pope Francis then often called on athletes to keep a spirit of amateurism, the same instruction he recently gave to the Vatican footballers and Roma players who played against each other on November 21, 2021.