A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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Formation for Sport


Chapter Three of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life document on sport Giving the best of yourself is entitled Significance of Sports for the human person. Despite a current ‘common in historical studies of sport to characterise Catholic attitudes towards the body as thoroughly negative’ the inverse is the case with the insistence of the Church’s ‘theological and spiritual traditions that the material world (and everything that exists) is good as it is created by God and that the person is a unity of body, soul and spirit’. Seeing ourselves and others as embodied persons shapes a vision of the unity of the human person which underpins the undertaking of sport in terms of its dignity and not utility. Without this vision of the human person athletic and all forms of human activity are viewed in mechanical terms and assessed without any objective morality. Moreover, ‘the understanding of the human person is also the foundation for the emphasis in Church teaching that there is a spiritual dimension to sport’.