Adapted from Gavin Drake, ACNS
The Primate of Brazil has given a warm welcome to the athletes and visitors of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, while criticizing the games’ administrators for serious mismanagement.
The Most Rev. Francisco de Assis da Silva said the Olympic Games “bring together the peoples of the world through healthy competition in several individual and team sports” and provide the opportunity to “encounter, learn, and share the world’s diversity.”
“It is the first time an event of this size has taken place in Brazil,” he said. “And the whole world will be watching our country during the games.”
“We know that these are not the best of days for Brazil. The political crisis caused by the coup maneuverings against the President of the Republic has divided the country and demonstrations have been frequent.”
He said serious mismanagement of the Olympic Village’s construction and very tight security surrounding the games had caused “additional social concerns” arising from popular discontent and additional demonstrations.
“I ask the Brazilian Anglicans and Anglicans around the world to pray for peace to prevail; and for respect and sportsmanship in this special party of sports,” he said.
Despite political tensions, he said, the country should show “respect for the athletes, visitors, and all the people” involved with the Olympics.”
Archbishop da Silva said people should live “the festival of sport” while also criticizing organizers who have “made the games a means of exploitation, exclusion, and wealth accumulation at the expense of the rights of ordinary people of the city of Rio de Janeiro.”
The archbishop is based in Santa Maria, a city of about 300,000 in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil.