Sport And Tourism In The Service Of A Better World

Sport And Tourism

Message for the 25th World Tourism Day

1. From time to time, this year, World Tourism Day, which will be celebrated on September 27, I am pleased to address all those involved in this sector of human activity with the aim of Suggest some reflections that help to highlight the positive aspects of tourism. This phenomenon, as I have already pointed out in other circumstances, contributes to the development of relations between people and peoples and, when it is cordial, respectful and Open door to peace and harmonious coexistence.

Indeed, many of the situations of violence suffered by humanity today have their roots in the misunderstanding and denial of the values ​​and identity of other cultures. Often these situations could be overcome by better mutual knowledge. In this context, my thinking also goes to the millions of migrants who must participate in the society that welcomes them, based above all on the respect and recognition of the identity of each person or group.

World Tourism Day is therefore not only a new opportunity to affirm the positive contribution of tourism to building a more just and peaceful world, but also an opportunity to reflect on the concrete conditions under which Is organized and practiced.

In this regard, the Church can not fail to propose once again the essential part of what is her vision of man and of history. Indeed, the supreme principle that must govern human coexistence is respect for the dignity of each person, as a person created in the image of God and as a universal brother.

This principle should guide all political and economic activity, as emphasized by the Social Doctrine of the Church, and also inspire cultural and religious coexistence.

2. This year’s theme is “Sport and Tourism: Two Vital Strengths for Mutual Understanding, Culture and the Development of Societies”. Sport and tourism refer primarily to free time, in which activities that promote physical and spiritual development should be promoted. In addition, there are many situations in which tourism and sport come together in a specific way and come together when sport is transformed precisely because of the specific nature of travel within and outside its own country, outside.

Indeed, sport and tourism are closely linked in major sporting events involving countries in a region or the world, such as the Olympic Games, which must never give up their noble vocation to revive the ideals of Coexistence, understanding and friendship. This also applies in many other, less media-intensive situations, such as sports activities in the school context or in neighborhood or city associations. In other circumstances, practicing a sport is precisely what motivates the organization of a trip or vacation. Sport is therefore a phenomenon that affects both high-level athletes, their teams and their supporters, as well as smaller social circles, such as many families, young people and children, and, ultimately,

Given that this is a human activity involving so many people, it should not be surprising that, despite the nobility of stated objectives, abuse and Many cases. Nor should we ignore the exacerbated mercantilism, the aggressive spirit of competition, violence against people or things, until we reach environmental degradation, or damage to cultural identity Of the host.

3. To illustrate the Christian life, the Apostle St. Paul proposed to the Christians of Corinth the image of the athlete as an example of effort and constancy (cf. 1 Cor 9: 24-25). Indeed, the correct practice of sport must be accompanied by moderation and education for renunciation; It also often requires a good team spirit, an attitude of respect, recognition of the qualities of others, honesty in the game and humility to recognize its limits. Finally, sport, especially in its least competitive forms, invites festivities and friendly coexistence.

The Christian can therefore find in sport an aid to develop the fundamental virtues – prudence and justice, strength and moderation – in the race to obtain an “imperishable” crown, as St. Paul writes.

4. Admittedly, tourism has given a powerful impetus to the practice of sport. The facilities it offers, including the many activities it promotes or organizes on its own initiative, have truly increased the number of those who enjoy and practice sport in their free time. In this way, there have been many opportunities for encounter between different peoples and cultures, in a climate of harmony and harmony.

That is why, without neglecting to pay due attention to the deviations which unfortunately continue to take place, I strongly wish to encourage, with renewed hope, the promotion of a “sport which protects the weak and excludes no one who Frees young people from the dangers of apathy and indifference, and arouses in them a healthy spirit of competition; A sport that is an emancipatory factor for the poorest countries and helps to eradicate intolerance and build a more fraternal and supportive world; A sport that contributes to the love of life, which teaches to sacrifice, respect and responsibility, leading to the full valorization of every human person “( Jubilee des sportifs , 3, 29 October 2000).

With these reflections, I invite all those who are in contact with sport in the field of tourism, and also the sportsmen and all those who practice the sport during their travels, to continue their commitment to achieve these noble objectives, While I invoke abundant Divine Blessings on each of them.

From the Vatican, May 30, 2004, Solemnity of Pentecost


(*) Original Italian text in the Osservatore Romano of 26 June. French version of the Holy See Press Room. Title, subtitles and note of the CD.

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