Pope Francis on Wednesday addressed the athletes who are set to take part in the 2016 Olympics in the Brazilian city of Rio, calling for them to exemplify the unity of the human race during the event.
Speaking at the weekly general audience, Pope Francis urged Olympians not to consider winning medals as the ultimate prize, but instead to encapsulate a civilisation in which solidarity takes precedence, reports Efe.
The Pope said it was possible to create a society “based on the acknowledgment that everyone is a member of the same human family, independent of culture, skin colour and religion”.
Francis also praised the Brazilian society for hosting the Olympics hoping that, by working together, it could overcome its difficulties and lead to a more just and safe country.
It was the Pope’s first general audience address since returning from Poland, where last week he celebrated World Youth Day and made a poignant visit to the Auschwitz Nazi concentration and extermination camp.
Pope Francis said he could relate the cruelty of concentration camps to the modern world, lamenting a society which was “ill with cruelty, pain, war, hate and sadness”.
He added that in a “world of war”, hope comes from the pursuit of fraternity, dialogue and unity.
The Olympic Games are scheduled to run from August 5-21.