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Basketball, John Paul II and World Peace

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If you think that basketball has no place in a friar’s blog, guess again. Did you know that John Paul II is a Harlem Globetrotter? A month after John Paul II delivered his homily on the Jubilee of Sports, the Harlem Globetrotters arrived at St. Peter’s Square and in a ceremony arranged for the moment, inducted the now Servant of God John Paul II as their sixth honorary member. Along with the membership, the Pope received a Globetrotter uniform (with #75, in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Globetrotters), a Globetrotter basketball,. The following links to online news record the date, November 29, 2000:

The event is also remembered by WikiPedia under the article “Cultural References to Pope John Paul II“.

With the ceremony on November 29, 2000, Pope John Paul II joins six other people in the Globetrotter’s privileged honorary membership which includes Kareem Abdul Jabbar (basketball hall-of-famer and American black historian, 1989)), Nelson Mandela (South African leader, 1996), Henry Kissinger (US diplomat, 1976), Whoopi Goldberg (black american comedian, actress, political activist, 1990) See complete list here.

In his homily on the Jubilee of Sports, John Paul II pointed out that because sports has become so significant as to become a “sign of the times”, those involved in it should identify and promote its many positive aspects and make it into an instrument that can help create a civilization of love.

… Sports have spread to every corner of the world, transcending differences between cultures and nations.

Because of the global dimensions this activity has assumed, those involved in sports throughout the world have a great responsibility. They are called to make sports an opportunity for meeting and dialogue, over and above every barrier of language, race or culture. Sports, in fact, can make an effective contribution to peaceful understanding between peoples and to establishing the new civilization of love.

Sports is a school for virtues such as “loyalty, perseverance, friendship, sharing and solidarity.” He reiterates this in a message on the World Day of Tourism:

“The correct practice of sport must be accompanied by practicing the virtues of temperance and sacrifice; frequently it also requires a good team spirit, respectful attitudes, the appreciation of the qualities of others, honesty in the game and humility to recognize one’s own limitations. In short, sports, especially in less competitive forms, foster festive celebration and friendly coexistence. While playing sports, Christians also find help in developing the cardinal virtues—fortitude, temperance, prudence and justice.” (June 25, 2004)

The Harlem Globetrotters recognize the role of sports in breaking down barriers and creating a world of peace. Having the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II on their side gives them an additional intercessor for their crack — not at a world championship — but for world peace.

Originally posted 2011-03-17 18:54:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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