Kelly Publishes on Catholicism and Sports

Written by Laura Paskin
February 7, 2013

Professor Patrick Kelly, S.J., published Catholic Perspectives on Sport: From Medieval to Modern Times (Paulist Press, 2012).  In his book, Kelly discusses how Catholics have engaged in play and sport since the medieval period and how this engagement has been related to theological and spiritual sensibilities.

As sports are increasingly in danger of losing the play element, Kelly argues, the earlier acceptance of play and the understanding of its connection to virtue and spirituality are important to re-examine.

“Christians in the medieval and early modern periods thought play was important in a virtuous life, because one shouldn't be studying or working all the time” he said. “Thomas Aquinas, in fact, believed that play was closely related to spiritual values.”   

In a review, social scientist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote, "It would be a great loss if this book were to be read only by historians of religion, because the clarity, vigor, and profound knowledge contained in it will inform and fascinate anyone who is interested in the broader context of mind and society where religion evolves."

Fr. Kelly joined the faculty in 2006. He teaches in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as in the School of Theology and Ministry. His scholarship focuses on sport and theology, sport as it relates to human development and spirituality, and spirituality, health, and leisure.