OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Sport to unite communities, overcome differences, promote social justice

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Canberra (Agenzia Fides) - Sport can bring us joy, friendship and a sense of community. It can be a vital means of development for young people and make an essential contribution to our health and wellbeing. Yet other influences undermine and distort sport’s ideals: violence on the field or in the street; abuse of drugs and alcohol; racism and abuse of women; and a growing potential for crime and corruption.
How can we work to realise sport’s potential to unite communities, overcome differences and be a force for social justice and reconciliation?
This is the question that is asked by the Australian Bishops announcing the next World Day of Social Justice, to be held on 28 September, and the 2014-2015 Statement which is entitled, ‘A Crown for Australia: Striving for the best in our sporting nation’."
The Statement’s title refers to St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9:24–27), in which he compares the athletes of his time competing for a ‘wreath that will wither’ with our aspiration for an imperishable crown as followers of Christ.
Australians love sports. Sport unites people who otherwise would never have come in contact. For these reasons, the Statement concludes, on World Day of Social Justice "we are invited to explore how sport can help us to celebrate the sporting values and use them to build the Kingdom of God on earth". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 17/07/2014)