Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, received a commemorative belt from boxing body, World Boxing Council (WBC) on Wednesday.
The WBC’s official website posted an image of the Pope with WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman Saldivar.
“The Green and Gold for the Champion of kindness, virtue and hope- Pope Francis received our most precious jewel from Mr. Mauricio Sulaiman Saldivar, WBC President,” the WBC stated in their website.
WBC’s and Sulaiman’s official Twitter accounts also posted images of the Pope being given the WBC belt.
Pope Francis, who was born in Argentina and the first Latin American and first Jesuit to head the Roman Catholic Church, is a known sports fan particularly following football and his home country, Argentina in international football competitions.
In 2013, Pope Francis attended a friendly between Argentina and Italy and had a private meeting with the players from both nations.
“Dear players, you are very popular. People follow you, and not just on the field but also off it. That’s a social responsibility,” Pope said via Huffington Post during that friendly match.
The Pope’s pictures showing he received the WBC belt do not mean he tolerates violent sports like boxing. As per the WBC tweet, Pope Francis even tasked the boxing body to “reach out to children and build bridges.”
Boxing, along with other contact sports like mixed martial arts (MMA), rugby, ice hockey American football are considered the more dangerous sports because of their violent nature and physicality.
However, Pope Francis is not focusing on the violent nature of boxing but it’s ability to reach out to people.
Earlier this year, the Vatican led by the Pope has taken initiatives to use sports to promote the church’s programs.
“With the help of two North American sports sponsorship and marketing companies, the Vatican is launching a multifaith sports conference in October called “Sports at the Service of Humanity.” The three-day event will examine the role sports can play in society, from establishing relationships to helping promote health and wellness,” Sports Business Daily reported last January.
“The Vatican will focus on three educational areas to help people grow: school, sports and jobs. The inclusion of sports represents the first time such a high-profile global institution has focused on the topic as a driver of social change. It also marks the first time that the Vatican has marshalled its wide reach on such a topic.”
Photo courtesy: wbcboxing.com