The Olympics! Once again the world looks to the largest, most attended, most fascinating sporting event. Even Christian Churches are being mobilised for the occasion. Since the Barcelona Games in 1992, Evangelicals, Baptists, Methodists and Episcopalians have started the ecumenical initiative “More than Gold” to together build the Kingdom of God in the enthusiastic and cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Olympics. This year the Catholic Church in England has also whole-heartedly joined the initiative. And on the morning of Friday July 27th, all the bells of Christian places of worship rang out at the same time to welcome athletes, tourists and others who have reason to participate in this extraordinary event and to help raise one’s heart to God.
What thing do we wait for which is “more than gold” of the most prestigious medals; than the admiration for what is, after all, short-lived success? Admiration for the strength, the elegance, the charm and athletic ability mustn’t stop at worshipping the beauty of the human body, but come to understand that it’s about a body being trained and guided by the mind and by will, by the spirit that inhabits it. It is therefore right to combine the Olympics with the Paralympics for disabled athletes. The latter do not mean less. They are necessary in order to understand the positive meaning of the former. And it is right to indissolubly unite the Olympics with the hope of peace for the international community of humanity: this is clearly stated by the ancient tradition of the “Olympic Truce”, recalled by the Pope during his greetings at last Sunday’s Angelus: “We pray that the Games in London will be a true experience of brotherhood between the peoples of the world!”