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Vatican official: Lance Armstrong scandal is 'very sad'

Pascal Pavani / AFP/Getty Images

Lance Armstrong putting on the yellow jersey after winning the 86th Tour de France prologue in 1999.

Even the Vatican has an opinion on Lance Armstrong.

One of Pope Benedict XVI's lieutenants weighed in on the doping scandal,  saying the disgraced ex-champion is just part of a scourge that has infected every corner of professional cycling.

"It's a world that is rotten, all of cycling, even soccer," said Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alameda, who heads the culture and sport section of the Pontifical Council for Culture in Rome.

"It's very sad," he told the Catholic News Service.

The monsignor spoke before Oprah Winfrey's interview with Armstrong was set to air Thursday and Friday. Sources say Armstrong admits doping in the two-hour sitdown.

The world won't find out until then what explanation Armstrong will give, but Sanchez noted that others who have admitting using performance-enhancing drugs spoke of enormous pressure to compete at the highest level.

Professional sports "have become a commodity that are subordinate to the free market and, therefore, to profit," he said. "It had reduced people to merchandise."

The news service noted that the pope condemned athletic doping last month, calling it a "dead end."