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OLYMPICS-HEALTH Jul-23-2012 (350 words) With photo. xxxi
Bishops of UK, Ireland urge Catholics to use bodies for 'glory of God'
By Simon Caldwell
Divers from Mexico jump from the 10-meter platform during a practice session July 22 at the Aquatics Center before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (CNS/Reuters)
Catholic News Service
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- On the eve of the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Catholic bishops of the United Kingdom and Ireland called upon Catholics to use their bodies for the "glory of God" in a Day for Life message.
Citing the Olympics and Paralympics, which were to open in London July 27 and Aug. 29, respectively, and the importance of healthy living, the bishops announced that they had distributed more than 400,000 pamphlets that urge churchgoers to "live a healthier, more balanced and environmentally sensitive lifestyle."
They also reminded people of the importance of exercise and physical activity.
"In the next few weeks, we are going to see Olympians and Paralympians do the most amazing things," said Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark in England, chairman of the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
"It will be incredible to watch world records being broken, gold medals being won and after years of dedicated training, personal sacrifice and daily discipline, the body performing feats that humanly we would think impossible," he said in a statement July 23.
"This year's Day for Life reminds us all of the importance of taking care of our bodies at every stage and in every condition. It's a call 'to use our bodies for the glory of God,'" the archbishop said.
The Day for Life was initiated in Great Britain and Ireland at the suggestion of the Blessed John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical "Evangelium Vitae" ("The Gospel of Life").
In England and Wales, the Day for Life was to be celebrated July 29.
Part of the Day for Life message reads: "The athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic games help us to celebrate the human body in all its wonder, especially when it faces the challenge of disability, physical limitation and pain.
"They testify that to achieve success in sport requires a harmony between the body, the spirit and the mind brought about through training and discipline," the message said.
The Day for Life message has been criticized by some Catholics, however, for failing to focus on abortion and euthanasia.
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