Vatican City, 22 November 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received in audience the managers and athletes of the national rugby teams of Argentina and Italy. Pope Francis described rugby as a very likeable sport, since “it is a tough sport, with a lot of physical contact, but it is not violent. There is great loyalty, great respect. Playing rugby is hard, it is not a walk in the park! And this, I think, is useful also for tempering character and willpower”.
“In rugby”, he continued, “one runs towards a goal. This word, which is so beautiful and so important, makes us think about life, because all our lives lead towards a goal. This search is tiring, and requires commitment and struggle, but the important thing is not to run alone. To arrive at the goal we need to run together, the ball is passed from hand to hand, and we advance together, until we reach the goal. And then we celebrate!”
“Perhaps this interpretation of mine is not very technical, but it is how a bishop sees rugby! And as a bishop I hope that you will be able to put all of this in practice, also off-pitch, in your lives”.