The New “Vatican House of Sport”

Source: FSSPX News

The Vatican House of Sport, which aims to carry out “the inclusive and solidarity-based vision of Pope Francis,” was inaugurated in Rome on September 20, 2023. Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, blessed the new operational headquarters of the Vatican Sport Association, Athletica Vaticana, in Palazzo San Calisto, in the Trastavere neighborhood.

The objective of the Vatican House of Sport is to be a meeting place in the spirit of the encyclicals Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti, in order to more effectively embody the vision of Pope Francis on sports as a path to fraternity, inclusion, and solidarity, as the L’Osservatore Romano explained.

The new office will be the operational headquarters of Athletica Vaticana, the sports association of the Vatican founded in 2019, which has around 200 members—men and women. It is part of the Union Cycliste Internationale (International Cycling Union or UCI) and World Taekwondo (an International Federation) and has an athletic club affiliated with the Italian Athletics Federation (FIDAL).

Athletica Vaticana seeks to join the other federations before being able to create a National Olympic Committee and participate in international events, like the Games of the Small States of Europe or the Olympic Games.

The Vatican’s press release on the blessing and inauguration says that “Athletica Vaticana is an ‘ambassador of the Pope’, because it ‘bears concrete witness, on the streets and in the midst of the people, to the solidarity face of sport, welcoming young migrants and people with disabilities’,” quoting the words of Pope Francis from a message he sent to participants in the Mediterranean Games in Algeria.

As an instrument permitting the Church to live her vocation and her mission, explained Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, sports are pleasing to God for their capacity to put man in harmony with creation and to promote peace and fraternity among men. 

The new Vatican House of Sport is thus intended to be “a crossroads of encounters between athletes of different cultures and religions,” as well as a place that welcomes “the most fragile people.”