Vatican City, Jul 10, 2014 / 11:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Pontifical Council for Culture has launched an effort designed to unite the world in asking for peace in warring countries by observing a moment of silence during the final game of the World Cup.
“Sports were born around religious festivities. Sporting events were moments of peace when wars ceased, as for the Olympic truce,” Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda stated July 10 for the launch of the campaign.
“Why not for the World Cup? Why not a pause, a moment of silence, a truce for peace?”
Msgr. Sanchez, undersecretary at the Pontifical Council for Culture and head of the section for culture and sport, spoke in reference to the ancient Greek tradition “ekecheiria,” or “truce”, that was put into practice during wartimes in order to allow citizens safe travel to the Olympic Games.
Established in the 9th century B.C. as a treaty signed by three kings, the truce allowed for athletes, artists, their families, and ordinary pilgrims to travel in complete safety to participate in or attend the games, as well as a safe return to their home countries.
Launched on the council’s website and Facebook page, the campaign is simply “a call for peace,” Richard Rouse, a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture, told CNA July 10.
“It's as simple as it says. It's just that one simple phrase – we live in an age of simplicity, we don't need big, long speeches to get the point across. We just want peace, simple as that.”
Speaking of the motive behind the push for an international pause, Rouse stated that “the whole world is gearing up for this big game, and we just thought it would be a good opportunity to take a moment, 30 seconds, a minute, to remember all those who are suffering in the wars around us.”
That pause, he said, “could be a moment at the beginning of the game, in the middle or whenever.”
“We'll leave that up to the organizers to decide, but to take a moment to ask for peace in the middle of so many conflicts.”
The World Cup final match will be played July 13 between Germany and Argentina.
In addition to being shared on Facebook, the pontifical council is also promoting the initiative on Twitter with the hashtag “#PAUSEforPeace.”