Does the Catechism prohibit racing (and other sports)?


Salvete, omnes!

Given that the Indy 500 auto race is coming up today here shortly (and given that I am a proud Hoosier myself!), I was just thinking on a paragraph I ran across in the Catechism while searching another topic which might prohibit both auto racing and some, if not all, other sports.

In paragraph 2290, it seems to discourage people who have, among other things, a love of speed and seems to call such a participation in the idolatry of the “cult of the body”. Now, the main focus here seems to be temperance, so, perhaps what is meant here is an excessive love for speed, etc. which can result in the endangerment of lives.

What are your thoughts on 2290 as it relates to the practice of sports? Is a love of speed, so long as it is done in moderation / with propriety/reasonableness, morally correct?

(And, yes, if you believe this and wish to watch the Indy 500 today, it IS ON TODAY! :slight_smile: Doesn’t seem to get as much publicity as it used to “back in the day”.)

Vobis gratias.



CCC 2290 says, in plain English

Drive carefully
Don’t drive too fast
Don’t drive at all if you’ve had too much to drink.

It’s not about sport, it’s not about motor racing, it’s not about the Indy 500, and it’s not even about the Monaco Grand Prix, which Nico Rosberg just won, a few minutes ago, for the third straight year.

Kind regards


LOL All of us trying to promote! :slight_smile: ( about an hr. 'til the 500!! :slight_smile: )

But, yeah, seriously, I actually thought I’d heard on another thread of at least one priest who himself makes at least a hobby of racing, and I would assume that he is well-catechized enough to have read/interpreted this particular section. (I presume he and others like him interprets it in a similar way as I have suggested above?) I gather there are even a few Catholic folk on here who race.

However, I can’t remember if it’s in this section or a proximate one, but, doesn’t the Catechism speak of not falling prey to the idolatry that comes from the “cult of the body”? I mean, isn’t sport about, at least in some senses, strength of the body, perhaps not so much in racing, but particularly in other more directly “physical” sports? But, again, could one even take this statement to mean that, while we may appreciate bodily strength in sport, we should not make it an idol in that we should not place it as too high a priority ato be that above which God would place it?


How about soccer? Is that “physical” enough for you? This is the team Pope Francis supports. It was founded by a priest, in 1908.



Does Indy Car count as racing? :confused:

Try the Isle of Man TT for comparison: :smiley:


The Indy 500 is starting in a few minutes. Our two Brazilian drivers are in fourth and fifth on the grid, Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves respectively. But I’m also rooting for the one woman driver in the race, on number 18, Silvana de Silvestro (spelling?)

Tony Kanaan won it in 2013 and let’s hope he does it again this year.


And evidently they played a game with Pope Francis’ picture on their jerseys.


Cult of the body in motor racing?

Given that the only bodies of any importance in this sport are metal rather than human, and all human anatomies involved are swathed from neck to feet in nomex, I’m shaking my head :):):slight_smile:

Seriously, I doubt there is a moral issue here. The designs of the cars and track mitigate the real dangers. And arguably, the science involved in building these cars, and carrying out the races, help to an extent in making road driving safer.



LOLz Now, we’re all getting competitive. :smiley:


:slight_smile: Since I’m actually feeling a little better about this, I’m OK with this going a bit tangential as it has. :slight_smile:

With that said…

Welp, so much for Kanaan… Yeah, that was tragic.

And, yes, I was rooting for di Silvestro as well. I rooted for Danica when she actually still did IndyCar, but can’t go over to NASCAR because, well, Indiana pride. :slight_smile: Do wish a lady would win once in a while, though… :frowning:


Meh. Well, technically, the topic did include other sports as well.

This does kind of get the topic a bit more back on track, though. So, then, again, are the parts of the Catechism I cited merely referring to an excessive love of, say, speed (or, implicitly, physical strength), excessive in the sense that it surpasses all other considerations to self and especially to to others? Again, though, here we touch on the topic of acceptable risk. Even with all the safety precautions taken, is the risk to life or of injuries of varying degrees acceptable to the Catholic/Christian? What should the probability of such incidents occurring be/not be before such risk is acceptable? Indeed, should there be any probability of such happening, especially if the activity involves merely a pleasurable (and, arguably, not a necessary) experience?


One of the most dangerous things you can do is… take a bath or a shower. The CDC says that 2/3 of all accidental injuries happen there. (Slippery when wet, plus soap, plus a hard floor and faucets to clonk yourself on.)

So yeah, the Church isn’t super-concerned about risk. Walking across the street is another huge risk, and nobody has tried to tell us it’s a mortal sin to cross the street! It’s concerned about stupid risk (like speeding).

Sports and games are supposed to help train your judgment, so that you know exactly what you can do and what you can’t. Moderate risk helps train judgment pretty darned fast, because it provides moderate consequences for all your actions and decisions.

Many sports include a small but real chance of death, and a slightly larger chance of permanent injury. The Church is okay with that, in moderation. When sports and games become too dangerous, the Church has been known to protest it (as with medieval tournaments, when too many people were dying because tourney safety rules weren’t safe enough). It’s all fun and games until tourney death statistics get higher than battlefield death statistics; and then the Church stepped in, until things got fixed.

Similarly, when serious Frankish-legal trial by combat died out, and public martial arts combats for fun died out, but frivolous duels to the death came in, the Church suddenly got very unamused by swords and pistols at dawn. In fact, dueling got declared a mortal sin; and if I recall correctly, in some places they were excommunicating duelists. At that point, you weren’t talking moderate risks; you were talking mutual attempted murder under the mask of “honor.”


It’s more risky being a christian in the middle east these days than in any sport. Just because something is inherently risky doesn’t make it sinful.


Nice, nice, nice response! Direct answers, great supporting facts! Very much appreciated. :slight_smile:

(Yep. This is probably the teacher in me coming out. It just seems that, today, so many people, kids and adults, just don’t know how properly to discuss/argue/debate. Direct point and counter-point argumentation has practically been lost, it would seem! Not meaning this to sound mean to anyone here, but it is a bit of a soap box for me. headshake)


I call it “adding context.” :wink:


The Church does not prohibit participating in sports.


One though needs to judge well what sport to support or participate in though.

Just because XYZ is called a sport does not mean that one ought to engage in it.

Prudence and right judgement is needed.

(I know you know this I note this for readers).


No, that would be referring to things like dangerous, illegal street racing that put the lifes of innocents at risk, not professional events.


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