The Holy See
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Thursday, 22 February 2001



1. This Conference deals with the subjects of ethical and cultural interest which are crucial for our present day society where well being is of primary interest. In fact, sports and tourism are phenomena which are growing in size and importance. They have reached a level of importance that had never been reached before this.

Leisure time is increasing and consequently so are the occasions of playing sports or travelling. These are typical phenomena of this progressive period, and they require careful consideration.
The Holy See is strongly present in these sectors, both internationally and locally. It takes interest in tourism, as well as sports, through numerous sports facilities and enterprises, which are promoted by ecclesiastic organizations on various continents.

2. Today, sports, along with tourism, are social and cultural phenomena anchored to ancient values and are essential for human beings. These values must be protected from deleterious influences such as intolerance, doping, excessive commercialization, the present-day utilitarian tendencies, and evident private interests which aim at reducing sports to a mere show.

During this conference we have to underline the educational values found in practicing sports.
The educational aspects linked to sports should lean towards the integral development of a person. These aspects can also come up with a project for a man capable of being responsible and free.
In this atmosphere of moral values, sports tourism exalts its educational purpose. Fair competitions, the sacrifice connected to working out, and healthy competitiveness are the components of a formative path in life.

This formation can offer the community strong, well-balanced, well-prepared personalities who can reach other positive goals.

In this way, sports, as well as tourism, becomes a vehicle for comparison and dialogue between young people involved in these fields.

Therefore, sports and tourism are efficient tools for teaching young people, in their period of human and social formation, respect of the fundamental values of man.

3. It is fundamental to underline the importance of the role that the adults involved in tourism and sports hold. It is a job that requires a great amount of preparation and professionality.
Therefore, in order to fortify this formative task, I would like to propose in this conference, once again, the necessity for respect towards the "quality" of services offered and for the social-environmental needs.

At the same time it is necessary to come up with a more transparent image of the sports world. Therefore it is necessary to have a true sports culture, because the dominating disciplines condition the way of thinking and the way of speaking of the community.

Therefore, so as to reconstruct a cultural web that makes up the necessary connection between sports and society, sports and educational traditions, and sports and ethics, it is necessary to carefully examine these phenomena which then require a revision. This is an intention deeply shared by those who sincerely love sports and tourism, but want them freed from episodes of negligence, corruption, violence, and discrimination.

The contribution that this assembly is offering towards this obligation will not leave the people working in this field indifferent, since their work consists of sharing the healthy values of sports and tourism.

Thank you for your attention!