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The Pope indicates three lessons of sport, three attitudes essential for peace: the need to «practice», «fair play» and respect for opponents.
«I wish you all a wonderful World Cup, played in a spirit of true brotherhood». That is what Pope Francis wrote in a tweet launched today on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony of the World Cup in Brazil. The “tweet” is added to a video message of greeting in Portuguese transmitted by the Brazilian TV Rete Globo, and also promoted by Vatican Radio, in which the Pope hopes that the World Cup «will be take place in complete serenity and tranquility, always with mutual respect, solidarity and fraternity among men and women who acknowledge that they are members of one family». The Pope hopes that «in addition to a sports celebration» the World Cup in Brazil will become a «festival of solidarity between nations».
«Sport is an instrument – the Pope said – with which to communicate the values that promote the good in humans and help to build a more peaceful and fraternal society. Let’s think of the loyalty, perseverance, friendship, sharing and solidarity»
Therefore the Pope indicates three lessons of sport, three attitudes essential for peace: the need to «practice», «fair play» and respect for opponents.
If in order to win you need to practice, «we can see, in this sport, a metaphor for our lives». «In life you need to fight, “practice”, strive to achieve significant results. In this way the sporting spirit reflects an image of the sacrifices necessary to grow in the virtues that build a person’s character. If improving a person requires intense and continuous training – he says – even more effort must be invested to arrive at encounters and peace between individuals and nations in “good condition” ».
“Fair play” is also important because «football can and should be a school for the formation of a culture of encounter, that leads to harmony and peace between peoples». «To win – says Francis – you have to overcome individualism, selfishness, all forms of racism, intolerance and human exploitation. So, being “individualists” in football is an obstacle to the success of the team; but if we are “individualists” in life, ignoring the people around us, the entire society suffers».
Lastly, Pope Bergoglio stresses that «the secret of victory on the field, but also in life, lies in knowing how to respect my team-mate, as well as my opponent. No one wins alone, either on the field or in life! No one must isolate himself and feel excluded! And, if it is true that at the end of this World Cup, only one national team will lift the cup as the winner, by learning the lessons that sports teach us we will all be winners, strengthening the bonds that unite us».
Domenico Agasso jr