Pope Francis calls for 'Olympic truce' for 2024 Olympic year. X. VATICAN NEWS

The Pope wants the power of sport to 'break down barriers and promote peace' to end the world's wars.. He is focusing on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as a global showcase and a source of 'hope'. His words came during a meeting with the Athlética Vaticana. Vatican News reported.

An 'Olympic truce'. That's the concept that Pope Francis referred to during the audience that he held with the 'Athletica Vaticana' sports association at the Vatican last weekend in order to achieve peace in the world. The practice dates back to ancient Greece, when wars stopped during the Olympic Games. 

The Pope took advantage of the Olympic year and the celebration of Paris 2024 to allude to the need for "sport to build bridges, break down barriers and promote peaceful relations", especially "in a particularly dark historical moment". 

Sport brings people together. It can unite them despite their different ideas and aspirations. It is this power and virtue that Francis wanted to highlight in order to make full use of it: "It is a means of showing one's talents, but also of building society. Indeed, sport teaches us the value of fraternity. We are not islands: on the pitch, a person's origin, language or culture is irrelevant. What counts is commitment and a common goal," he explained.

It remains a metaphor, an illustrative example. But it really explains what happens in life. It is an instrument of inclusion. It breaks down barriers and celebrates diversity," he said. 

According to Vatican News, the Pope spoke to Athlética Vaticana, the Vatican's official amateur sports association, founded in 2019 under the auspices of the then Pontifical Council for Culture, with the intention that his words would reach beyond the Vatican. 

In his audience, he sent a message to the world, pointing out that sport is not only "a means of expressing one's talents, but also of building society", with the intention of having values reach all places in the world, and wishing to see sport as a tool for "building a more supportive community".

Pope Francis has described the Olympics as an instrument of unity and peace. GETTY IMAGES
Pope Francis has described the Olympics as an instrument of unity and peace. GETTY IMAGES

Pope Francis has always seen sport as a unique tool to unite and avoid disputes and conflicts. Now, the Olympic Games are the element offered to the world to make use of it. He also took advantage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, then being held in Russia, to call for understanding and brotherhood among peoples. 

At the time, he also offered a message of hope: "It can be an opportunity for meetings, dialogue, and brotherhood between different cultures and religions, promoting solidarity and peace among nations." He had done the same two years earlier, on the occasion of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. On that occasion, he described athletes as "messengers of brotherhood".