Vatican Launches 'Pause for Peace' Campaign Ahead of World Cup Final

Initiative Urges People to Remember Those Stricken by Wars and Unrest Worldwide

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The Pontifical Council for Culture has launched a «Pause for Peace» campaign ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2014 final in Brazil on Sunday evening.

Adherents are asking for a moment of silence around the Sunday, July 13 match to remember those stricken by wars and unrest worldwide. “Some wish for a moment of silence at the match. All wish for a cessation of bloodshed in those many areas of the world undergoing dramatic conflict in these days,” the Pontifical Council said in a statement issued Friday.

The president of the council, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi promoted the initiative on July 11 on Twitter (@CardRavasi), writing: «‘A still, small voice of silence’ (1 Kings 19,12) #PAUSEforPeace #WorldCup2014.»

Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture and head of the Culture and Sport section said: «Sports were born around religious festivities. Sporting events were moments of peace, when wars ceased, as for the Olympic truce. Why not for the World Cup, why not a pause, a moment of silence, a truce for peace?»

The initiative is being promoted on social media with the hashtag #PAUSEforPeace.

Sunday’s soccer match between Argentina and Germany is generating much interest worldwide, especially within the Church, as the two finalists’ teams are from the native countries of Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus.

Some are concerned, however, that the tournament is detracting people’s attention from serious conflicts in the world, especially in the Middle East. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad recently chastised Western states who, he said, «find football» in the current World Cup «more interesting than the situation here or in Syria.»

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