The European Championships kick-off today in Poland and the Ukraine. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is expected to be one of the stars of the tournament.

Ahead of Euro 2012, Pope says team sports teach values like self-sacrifice, respect

By  Catholic News Service
  • June 8, 2012

VATICAN CITY - Team sports such as soccer can educate participants and spectators in important values, including self-sacrifice and respect for one's adversaries, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to participants in the European Championships soccer tournament.

Group sporting events, he said, are "an important school for educating one in the meaning of respect for others -- including the opposing team -- the spirit of personal sacrifice for the good of the whole group," and in the importance of recognizing the talents and skills of each person on a team.

In other words, the Pope said, team sports help people "overcome the logic of individualism and selfishness, which often characterize human relations, in order to make room for the logic of brotherhood and love, the only things that can lead to promoting the common good on every level."

Pope Benedict made his remarks in a message to athletes, fans and tournament organizers. He sent the message to Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl, president of the Polish bishops' conference. The matches of the 2012 European Cup will be held in Poland and Ukraine June 8-July 1.

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