EWTN Vatican
The Vatican Gears Up for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris

EWTN Vatican bureau chief Andreas Thonhauser presents the initiatives of the Vatican and the French Embassy to the Holy See in preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games in this EWTN News Nightly segment.

Preparations are well underway for the 2024 Olympic Games later this summer in Paris. Among those gearing up is the Vatican and the French Embassy to the Holy See. They are combining to host an event on sports and spirituality.

With the 2024 Summer Olympics fast approaching, the Dicastery for Culture and Education and the Embassy of France to the Holy See are organizing an International Conference on Sports and Spirituality.

Cardinal Mendonça oriented the conference as follows: "The church doesn't seek to control sports or create an alternative sport, but to humanize it through a Christian vision of sports."

The Church's relationship with sports is well documented. The Second Vatican Council's document on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, directly mentions it. Pope Francis has a great love of soccer, inviting Argentina's men's national team after winning the 2022 World Cup final.

In a speech in 2013, the Holy Father expressed this sentiment, "The bond between the Church and the world of sports is a beautiful reality that has strengthened over time, for the ecclesial community sees in sports a powerful instrument for the integral growth of the human person."

Cardinal Mendonça expressed a similar sentiment, "It is within this spiritual experience that its true significance is realized. Hence, we find it crucial to intertwine the sports experience with spirituality, including listening to the word and praying, because there is also a pursuit of God in the movement of the body."

The future conference aims to address the relationship between the Church and sports through the shared testimony of athletes. At the same time, it will focus on a relationship between man and sports, with a group of speakers reflecting on sports in terms of pedagogical, philosophical, sociological, and theological relevance.

The Embassy of France to the Holy See plays a central role in this event. In the current context of wars ravaging our world, Ambassador Florence Mangin explained, "Olympism is first and foremost a message of peace, and the commitment of the universal Church as well as that of France is essential.

"Sports and the Olympics are indeed moments of great effort, performance, and achievement. But everything," she stated, "is based on the respect for others, the respect for different nations, and the respect for each other's performance. The game can be individual or collective, but it is about doing something together. As you know, the Olympic motto is 'faster, higher, stronger,' but the word 'together' can also be added to the motto. And that completely sums up the philosophy of the Olympics."

The possibility of a global ceasefire during the Summer Olympic Games was also discussed during the press conference. Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça reiterated that hope to EWTN News Nightly.

"The Olympic truce," he said, "which is one of the most beautiful expressions of the Olympic spirit, is a seed of peace planted in this world amidst all conflicts and divisions. It is a moment during which hands are freed from weapons to build peace, and this offers hope that the Olympic truce may inspire political and human truces, making the world a more fraternal place, as Pope Francis continually urges."

Adapted by Jacob Stein

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Author Name

Andreas Thonhauser is EWTN Vatican Bureau Chief. He earned a Master of Business Administration from the WU Executive Academy in Vienna and a Master’s degree in German Philology/Anglistics and Americanistics from the University of Vienna. Prior to joining EWTN, Thonhauser worked as the Director of External Affairs for a global human rights organization, and for several media outlets in Vienna, Austria.


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