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Summary of new Vatican document
"Giving the best of yourself"

June 1, 2018
CNS photo/John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

“Giving the best of yourself”
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DOCUMENT
(Issued by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life)

The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life today offers the sports community a document useful for the “construction of a human and ever more authentic sport”.
Attention to sport is not new to the Church, which has always paid particular attention to all the activities that place the person at the centre. In this sense, the title of the Document reveals the essence and reason of the Church’s interest in and commitment to sport.
At the centre there is indeed the human being, in his uniqueness of body and spirit; there is the need for all activities, including sports, to be supported by a range of virtues and good qualities, which allow it to rise above and never fall prey to the dangers that can undermine any human activity.
Not by chance, the first concept recalled is that “Giving the best of yourself” that Pope Francis has repeatedly referred to in many of his addresses, inviting especially young people to “not be content with drawing even” in life.
Sport is based on this value of commitment, of sacrifice, on the idea of overcoming one’s limits by working hard, without cheating, seeking victory – but not at all costs – and, at the same time, learning to face up to defeat without being discouraged.
The five sections that make up the document do not claim to include every aspect of the variegated components of sporting activity, but they are intended to offer a Christian perspective of sport, addressing those who practise it, those who assist as spectators, and those who experience it as technicians, referees, coaches, families, priests and parishes.
The first chapter explains the reasons for the Church’s interest in sport and the need for a pastoral approach to sport, recalling that this relationship rests on three pillars: the physical effort necessary for the athlete to be able to express himself, the moral qualities that must support his commitment, and the desire for peace, brotherhood and solidarity that sport must help promote.
In the second chapter, the Document outlines the salient features of sport as a phenomenon and its contextualization in current society: sport as a sort of anthropological constant and as a universal phenomenon compatible with almost all cultures.
In the third chapter the theme of the meaning of sport for the person is explored. It starts from considerations on themes already known to Catholic debate on sport (body-soul-spirit) to extend the perspective of analysis of certain qualities inherent to sport; sentiments that form part of the sporting DNA and which are often forgotten: the spirit of sacrifice, the sense of responsibility, respect for the rules, the capacity to work as a team, joy, courage, solidarity, harmony.
The fourth chapter is dedicated to open challenges, to the desire to contribute through sport to the promotion of authentic values that may provide to any sportsperson a patrimony to confront the many dangers that modern sport often has to face, such as doping, corruption and violent fans.
The fifth and final chapter is dedicated to the role of the Church as a protagonist in this path of humanization through sport. At home, in the family, at school, at the gym, in the parish: there are many places in which a pastoral approach to sport is expressed and which seeks to develop in each subject, practising or spectator, that range of good qualities and virtues that characterize a good sportsman, a good citizen and a good Christian.
For further information and to download the digital document, please consult: www.laityfamilylife.va.
Or read the full document here on Salt+Light.