The 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup will begin on Sunday November 20 in Qatar. The most watched sporting event on the planet, this World Cup is an opportunity to rediscover the link between sport and religion with Guillaume Warmuz, former goalkeeper of RC Lens.
In April 2020, Olivier Giroud made the front page of Jesus magazine. No wonder, the world champion testifies regularly. If Christian players are, a priori, numerous on the professional circuit, they are few to spread their faith. Guillaume Warmuz, a former professional footballer, now a Benedictine Oblate and sports director at UF Mâconnais, did not convert overnight. It was a search for meaning that allowed her to encounter Christ.
Make football and faith rhyme?
How to combine professional sport and spiritual obligations when you have to travel, training and matches? For the former Arsenal goalkeeper, we can still serve God. Praying in the morning before a match, reciting the rosary on the way to training or participating in Sunday mass, there are always opportunities for athletes to nourish their faith. » he explains. Yet the values of modern football do not seem to be compatible with the message of Christ: idolatry, money, alcohol, drugs. Footballers are regularly the joy of popular magazines. “On the financial question in an environment where the amounts are colossal, money must simply remain a means of earning a living and not an end. » warns Guillaume Warmuz, “it is not the quest for glory that should drive the athlete but the desire to satisfy and make the public happy. A regulated life, respectful of the Gospel can allow sportsmen to combine faith and sport. »
For several years, the Church has shown an interest in football in the image of Pope Francis. A loyal fan of the San Lorenzo club in Argentina, he was awarded a Boca Junior club membership card in 2020 as part of an education partnership. For Guillaume Warmuz, this interest is legitimate on the one hand because “The Church has always recognized that the practice of sport is necessary for the development of the body. Whether it’s Pope John Paul II, an athlete from his youth, or Pope Francis. Both have shown a strong interest in the sport. and on the other hand, underlines the Benedictine Oblate, “The Church can help players in the football world evolve through its values, football makes people virtuous, collective sport encourages altruism, self-transcendence and acceptance of others, football brings real discipline, an equally cardinal value in the spiritual life. »
The former doorman of the Sang et Or believes that “The Catholic presence remains timid in sporting commitment unlike other confessions. “. Until the end of the 19th century, the Church supervised the sports education of many young people, “we must blow on the embers of patronage in order to rekindle the flame of Catholic sport” concludes Guillaume Warmuz, “Sponsorship is a great way to share the common values of love and understanding of others, put into practice through sport. Patronage is also an opportunity to educate the younger generations in a Catholic spirit in order to form the society of tomorrow. »
While waiting for the fire to catch, France will play their first match on Tuesday November 22 at 8 p.m. French time, they will face Australia.