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Pope lauds athletic activity-- without 'illicit means'

November 15, 2010

Athletic competition can be “a school in which to learn and develop human and Christian values,” Pope Benedict XVI said during a November 15 meeting with Italian ski instructors.

However, the Pope warned that athletes should “not idolize the body but respect it, not making it an instrument to be improved at all costs, perhaps even using illicit means.”

Referring directly to the work of the ski instructors, whose winter season opens soon, the Pope observed that skiing offers benefits beyond those of physical exercise, because in the vast outdoors, “contemplating creation, man recognizes the greatness of God, the ultimate source of his own being and of the universe.” Unlike his predecessor John Paul II, Benedict XVI has never taken an active interest in athletics, and has rarely spoken about the virtues of sports.


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