2012-06-14 L’Osservatore Romano - Sport is in need of a catharsis against degeneration so that it may return to being a culturally significant phenomenon. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, did not mince words in expressing his thoughts on sport at the presentation of the new department, “Culture and Sport”, on Thursday morning, 14 June. This initiative is similar to a section entitled “Church and Sport” in the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which was established in 2004. The stated objective is to create new cultural approaches to the phenomenon of sport, aimed at identifying the privileged “place” of dialogue in the Church, culture and the world of youth and identifying a new Areopagus for believers and non-believers in the spirit of the “Court of Gentiles” in sport.

It was also noted, from the Church's viewpoint, that the world of sport requires an attentive look that seeks to understand its dynamics and values, before condemning sport as a declining phenomenon. This is moreover the meaning of the cultural analysis which is the Pontifical Council's mission with a view to discerning, namely, understanding in order to be able to evangelize. Culture does not evangelize externally but from its heart, from the interior part of every cultural phenomenon. In other words, before speaking about the world of sport, it is necessary to listen to it and to try and understand it. Thus the department will not seek to speak only about the world of sport but also to bring the echo of great cultural aspirations in the world to the Church, deepening its contemporary expectations and exploring new ways of cultural dialogue with its protagonists. The new branch, Cardinal Ravasi explained, follows in the wake of other Holy See bodies which strive to connect the Church with sport but with the Pontifical Council for Culture's own style.