Vatican seeks a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final in Brazil

(Photo: Ralph Orlowski)Flight captain Uwe Strohdeicher (R) and flight attendants of his crew pose for the media prior to their departure at Frankfurt airport July 11, 2014. The German national soccer team will fly back to Germany on Tuesday with this Lufthansa crew, after their 2014 World Cup final match against Argentina. The 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina will take place Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.

The Vatican is seeking to unite the world in asking for peace in warring countries by observing a moment of silence during the final game of soccer's World Cup.

Germany will face Argentine in the 2014 World Cup Final at the do Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro on Sunday July 13. This will be the third time the two teams have faced off in a World Cup final - a feat no other two nations have achieved.

"Sports were born around religious festivities. Sporting events were moments of peace when wars ceased, as for the Olympic truce," Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, said 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?"

Bloody conflicts are currently being waged in the Middle East, the north and east of Africa, in Ukraine and other parts of the world and tensions exist in northern and south eastern parts of Asia.

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 of "ekecheiria," or "truce," that was put into practice during wartime 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. It also enables a safe return to their home countries.

The campaign, launched on the council's website and Facebook page, is simply "a call for peace," said Richard Rouse, a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

"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," Rouse told Catholic News Agency July 10.

Because much of the world will be watching the final game Rouse said, "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."

In addition to being shared on Facebook, the pontifical council is also promoting the initiative on Twitter with the hashtag #PAUSEforPeace.

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