The Church is getting more deeply into sport laity with the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, and the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Laity. It is believed that sport as a privileged place for dialogue among church, culture and youth. Sport is healthy recreation and appropriate challenge. Sport is a point of reference of bettering oneself and the development of virtue.
This is a new approach to following Christ.
(Sadly, the John Paul II Foundation for Sport is only a London based organization; let's hope something in the USA and Canada gets working.)
From Vatican Radio:
Representatives from the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for the Laity held a press conference at the Vatican on Thursday, during which they presented the new lines of cultural approach to sport. The new approach is aimed at coming to an understanding of sport as a privileged place for dialogue among Church, culture and youth. The conference also provided an opportunity to present the Pontifical Council for Culture's new Department dedicated to Culture and Sport, which will work closely with the Church and Sport Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and the John Paul II Foundation for Sport. One of those who participated in the press briefing was Fr. Kevin Lixey, who is Responsible for the Church and Sport Section at the Council for the Laity. He told Vatican Radio recent, highly publicized scandals in major league sports - including betting scandals in Italy - make the announcement extremely timely. "On the one hand," said Lixey, "we wanted to announce something we've been doing for the past year and a half," adding, "it's a moment for the Church to show that it is concerned." Fr. Lixey went on to say, "[The Church] is actively working and interested in trying to stimulate a little bit more the pastoral work with sport," on all levels, from youth leagues to international and professional compretition. "There is," said Fr. Lixey, "still a lot of good in sport."
Listen to Chris Altieri's extended interview with Fr. Kevin Lixey of the Pontifical Council for the Laity:
Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.