The Catholic Church Officially Opposes Anabolic Steroids

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It comes as little surprise that the Catholic Church does not support the use of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in athletic competition. Pope Benedict XVI made it official when he condemned doping as a shortcut to victory. Th anti-steroid comments were part of a speech to members of the Italian Olympic and Paralympic teams at Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City earlier this month.

“Pressure to win good results should never prompt you to take shortcuts as happens with doping,” said Pope Benedict XVI. “Let the same team spirit be a spur to avoid these blind alleys, and also be a support to those who realize they have made mistakes, so that they feel welcomed and helped.”

The 85-year old Pope told Italy’s Olympic teams that anabolic steroids were a blind alley that should be avoided. The Pope urged athletes to resist the temptation to use steroids and PEDs.

However, the Pope still believes that winning a sporting competition is a worthy goal. But winning isn’t everything. The true significance of sport comes from the values it instills in its participants. These include learning altruism, respect, loyalty, patience and humility.

While the Catholic Church’s comments specifically addressing steroids and doping in sport are new, the Church has long emphasized the importance of sport in society. The late Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI’s predecessor, was an avid sportsman. The John Paul II Foundation for Sport was established in his name in 2010 to promote the “educational and cultural benefit” of sport”.

The Vatican recently opened the “Culture and Sport” department to address the increasing domination of sport by the corruption of money and performance-enhancing drugs. The move was made to help promote a “catharctic” change towards drug-free sport.

Photo credit: via wikipedia


Winfield, N. (December 17, 2012). Pope tells Italy’s Olympic team not to give in to the ‘blind alley’ of doping. Retrieved from