Pope appeals for world truce during Athens Olympics

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AFP) – Pope John Paul II yesterday appealed for a worldwide ceasefire during the Athens Olympics in 2004, saying the Games were a unique chance to overcome hatred and bring people together. Speaking to Greece’s new ambassador to the Vatican, Christos Botzios, the pope said the Roman Catholic Church «wants very much the establishment of a strong and lasting peace between nations.» The next Olympic Games in Athens «will offer the possibility for a new experience of brotherhood, to conquer hatred and to bring people and peoples together,» the pope said at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. He said he wished for a ceasefire «so that the peaceful and competitive spirit, which is also that of the founders of the Olympic Games, spreads into all areas of society and across all continents.» The pope said he hoped the 2004 Olympics would be «a joyous manifestation of all who belong to one human and brotherly community» as other recent sporting events of a similar nature had shown.

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