The death of South African motorcyle rider Elmer Symons who was killed during the fourth stage of the event in the Morocco desert was the 49th death in the 29-year history of the event, according to a Reuters report. Competitors comprised 24 of the dead.
"The Paris-Dakar, a race which many classify as a sporting event, in reality has very little to do with healthy competition," the Vatican paper's editorial said.
"The trail of blood which grows longer from year to year on the route of the race instead underscores the undeniable component of violence that lies behind every attempt to export Western models to human environments and ecosystems that have little to do with the West," it continued.
The Vatican newspaper said the race and its sponsors betrayed a "cynicism" that ignores local realities.
It called the wrecks of cars, trucks and motorcycles abandoned in the desert "rusty monuments to irresponsibility".
The two-week race, which no longer starts from Paris, has claimed 49 lives.
L'Osservatore Romano previously branded the Rally a "vulgar display of power and wealth in places where men continue to die from hunger and thirst."
Rallying - Vatican slams Dakar Rally as irresponsible (Antara, 12/1/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Dakar Rally (Wikipedia)
Dakar Rally official site
12 Jan 2007