Pope Warns Against Commercializing Athletes

by Rachel Baker on November 24, 2013

Pope Francis is an interesting voice in the world right now. For many, he’s stepping into a moderate (and vaguely liberal) arena in which Popes don’t normally venture. For others though, he’s overstepping. Whichever group you fall into, its important to contemplate the meaning of what he’s saying as a whole and not dissect bits and pieces (i.e., ignoring specific words being used) to make your uproarious arguments.

Here’s the most recent story from the BBC about what the Pope said during his address to the European Olympic Committees:

Pope Francis played basketball as a young man and is a keen supporter of his local San Lorenzo football club in Buenos Aires, says the BBC’s David Willey in Rome.

The Pope had two days of meetings with leaders of the world of sport. He met Sepp Blatter, the head of the International Football Federation, Fifa, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

and the bold, underlined, and highlighted word below is the important word in understanding that he’s not saying sport shouldn’t be considered in economic terms, but that we shouldn’t forget there is more to an athlete than just the number of dollar signs said athletes can bring in profit.

Addressing the delegates of the European Olympic Committees at the Vatican on Saturday, the Pope said: “When sport is considered only in economic terms and consequently for victory at every cost, it risks reducing athletes to mere trading material from whom profits are extracted.”

Mr Bach presented the Pope with the Olympic Order in Gold, telling him: “You truly understand the joy in human spirit that sport can bring but just as much the deeper values that it can nurture.”


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