Aug. 23 (CWNews.com) - The Pontifical Council for the Laity has released a book of essays on the world of athletics, praising honest competition but warning against excesses of individualism and "body worship."
The collection of essays is entitled The Sporting World Today: A Field of Christian Commitment. In an introductory essay, Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, remarks that the topic is worth analysis because while athletic competition is as old as the human race, in today's world sports have become "a consolidated mass phenomenon."
Citing the words of the Pope John Paul II (bio - news), an enthusiastic amateur athlete in his youth, Archbishop Rylko said that at its best, sport provides "a school of humanity," encouraging friendly competition, teamwork, and other valuable human virtues. He recalled the late Pope's statement that depending on the attitudes of participants and organizers, athletic competition can be noble or it can be profiteering; it can unite people or it can divide.
The Pontifical Council for Laity opened a new office for sports in August 2004. The office works with amateur athletic associations, youth groups, and sports professionals; its aims are to promote a healthy Christian attitude toward sports and to encourage athletes to bear witness to their Christian faith.