“Sport is a human activity of great value, able to enrich people’s lives; it is enjoyed by men and women of every nation, ethnic group and religious belonging.”
Pope Francis highlighted the importance the Paralympic Movement has for social inclusion at the ‘Sport at the Service of Humanity's First Global Conference on Sport and Faith’ convention last week in the Vatican.
Organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture (PCC), the United Nations (UN) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), IPC President Sir Philip Craven and IPC Vice-President Andrew Parsons, as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, IOC President Thomas Bach and PCC President Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi all took part in the event.
“Sport is a human activity of great value, able to enrich people’s lives; it is enjoyed by men and women of every nation, ethnic group and religious belonging,” said Pope Francis.
“During these last few months, we have seen how the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been at the centre of attention of the whole world.
“Our religious traditions share the commitment to ensure the respect for the dignity of every human being. So it is good to know that the world’s sporting institutions have taken so courageously to heart the value of inclusion.
“The Paralympic Movement and other sporting associations sustaining those with disabilities, such as the Special Olympics, have had a decisive role in helping the public recognise and admire the extraordinary performances of athletes with different abilities and capacities.
“These events present us with experiences in which the greatness and purity of sporting gestures stand out clearly.”
The full speech can be found on Vatican Radio’s website.