Olympics Preparation Brings Faiths Together in Turin

February 17, 2006

Source: The Tidings


On February 17, 2006 The Tidings reported, "The Olympics have done more than bring athletes from 85 different nations together to compete; the games have brought Turin's Christian, Jewish and Muslim representatives together for the first time to collaborate. Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin said that, while Catholic relations with the city's Waldensian and Orthodox churches have long been strong, interaction with the city's Jewish and Muslim leaders had been limited. 'There were never any big initiatives involving non-Christian' religions, he told Catholic News Service in mid-February. But when Turin won the bid to host the Feb. 10-26 Olympics, that changed. A host city must provide spiritual assistance to all athletes and team members, so an interfaith committee made up of local religious representatives is set up years before the games begin... The Olympic interfaith committee's Catholic representative, Father Aldo Bertinetti, said working together has been such a positive experience that members have decided to remain united as a group even after the games... 'We are now convinced we must come together again as an interfaith group' after the committee is officially dissolved, he said. 'The city of Turin has said they are giving us a place where we can meet,' he said. A group dedicated to coordinating interfaith dialogue and initiatives 'would be a beautiful inheritance from these Olympics,' he added."