ISSN: 1522-5658
Supplement 20 (2019)

Table of Contents

Catholics and Sport in a Global Context

Edited by Patrick Kelly, S.J., Seattle University

Introduction (pp. 1–22)

Patrick Kelly, S.J., Seattle University
[ Introduction ]

1. From Play to Virtue: The Social, Moral, and Religious Dimensions of Youth Sport (pp. 23–44)

Clark Power and Lillie K. Rodgers, University of Notre Dame
[ Abstract ] [ Chapter 1 ]

2. Bishop Sheil, the CYO and Reflections for Our Times (pp. 45–62)

Timothy Neary, Salve Regina University
[ Abstract ] [ Chapter 2 ]

3. Football Plus Human and Spiritual Growth: The Sports Pastoral Outreach of the Santo Domingo Parish, Managua (pp. 63–70)

Juan José Sosa Meléndez, Universidad Centroamericana, Nicaragua
[ Abstract ] [ Chapter 3 ]

4. Paradigms of Sport: Indian-Catholic Reflections (pp. 71–93)

Bryan Lobo, S.J., Pontifical Gregorian University, Italy
[ Abstract ] [ Chapter 4 ]

5. Persons First, Athletes Second: If Aquinas Came to the English Premier League (pp. 94-105)

Mark Nesti, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom
[ Abstract ] [ Chapter 5 ]

6. Toward the Integral Development of Students in Canadian Catholic High School Athletics (pp. 106-22)

Matt Hoven, University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada
[ Abstract ] [ Chapter 6 ]

7. Three Approaches to Sport: The Vatican, the International Olympic Committee, and the United Nations (pp. 123-34)

Antonella Stelitano, Italy
[ Abstract ] [ Chapter 7 ]

Drawing on Brown’s exegetical exploration of Wisdom’s paideia in the Book of Wisdom, we show how sports understood as play are an invaluable means of moral as well as spiritual education. Playing sports, we argue, fosters children’s development of the theological and cardinal virtues by leading them to practice the golden rule and grasp what it means to be a member of a team. In adulthood, sports experienced as play free us from the burdens of the world of work. The joy they bring is rooted in a sense of freedom, self-transcendence, and new possibilities for the human community.
This article examines the origins and influence of Bishop Bernard Sheil’s Catholic Youth Organization. Interracial and ecumenical from its inception, the CYO, founded in Chicago in 1930, embodied the communal and pluralistic values of Catholic Action theology and New Deal politics. Dioceses across the United States replicated the Chicago CYO model during the Great Depression and World War II. Sheil’s urban liberalism fell from favor by the early 1950s, however, as the U.S. Catholic Church focused its attention on the millions of white Catholic families relocating to the booming, postwar American suburbs. Today, Sheil’s CYO offers lessons for those interested in using Catholic-sponsored youth athletics to cross boundaries of race, class, and geography.
In this article the sports pastoral in Managua, Nicaragua started by the Our Lady of Guadalupe Christian Life Community and supported by the local Jesuit parish is described and research with participants is shared that was conducted by the sociology department at the Universidad CentroAmericana. The members of the CLC arrived at the idea for the football league for adolescent males and young men ages 14-25 while they were trying to think of ways to reach the young people in their community, particularly those who were socially excluded and at-risk. According to the participants, playing in the league and participating in mandatory workshops had a positive impact on their lives, drawing them away from bad habits such as alcohol and drug abuse, helping them to make friends and expand their social network, pulling them away from violent situations and helping them to adopt positive values such as coexistence, respect, solidarity, and tolerance.
Catholic reflections on sport in India need to proceed in a comparatively interreligious way with Hinduism, which is the major and most diffused religion in India. In this dialogical approach, which is very much in keeping with the missionary method of Pope Francis, various themes that are relevant to Hinduism and to the Indian milieu in general are treated within specific paradigms, namely the mythical, theological, spiritual, anthropo-socio-cultural, and the commercial paradigm. The advantage of this kind of an approach employed for our reflections is that it is able to offer a wide range of insights that otherwise would have remained hidden and unknown to global Catholic and interreligious research in sport.
This essay draws on the author’s applied experience of delivering sport psychology support to professional soccer players in the English Premier League (EPL). The work of a sports psychologist at senior levels is focused on providing a counseling-based approach, one where discussions about meaning, spirituality, and religious belief often take place. This should not surprise us since many of the soccer players in the EPL are from countries outside of Europe where there is a much higher prevalence of religious belief than in Europe itself. This essay provides a critique of the dominant perspectives in (sport) psychology and argues that we need a more personalist perspective that can accommodate words like sacrifice, play, joy, courage, faith, hope and love since these concepts are used frequently by participants to describe their experience of sport, especially at higher levels of commitment.
This paper, based upon interviews and focus groups conducted with 15-year-old student-athletes at two Catholic high schools in Edmonton, Canada, explains how religion and spirituality supported students’ integral development. Psychologically, religion and spirituality provided confidence, despite questions related to its placebo effect. Morally, students believed religion made them better people despite obvious tensions with sport. Socially, youth appreciated mentorship from coaches but grappled with the public place of religion in sport. Educational implications require intentional reflection on sport and improved institutional support toward the integration of a religious spirituality in these sport programs.
The Vatican, the International Olympic Committee, and the United Nations have in common a vision of sport that is related to personal growth and is able to foster encounters between people, and help to bring about peace and development. Each of these groups have approached sport with different emphases or methods depending on the historical context. But the common vision they have arrived at of the possibilities of sport can help us to address pressing issues facing the world in this new millennium.