Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Vatican
 Origins
 Africa
 Headlines
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 Facebook
 Twitter
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Vatican
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
.
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 cns@
 catholicnews.com
 or
 (202) 541-3250

.
 Copyright

 This material
 may not
 be published,
 broadcast,
 rewritten or
 otherwise
 distributed,
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

.
 CNS Story:

OLYMPICS-CHAPLAIN Aug-10-2012 (270 words) xxxi

Olympic team chaplains help athletes face up to failings

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The job of an Olympic team chaplain sometimes involves helping athletes face up to weaknesses of character, said the Italian team chaplain, after one of the nation's athletes was disqualified on account of drug use.

A chaplain provides spiritual support, friendship and encouragement to the athletes, but he is also there to promote "confrontation, dialogue, reflection, to help them find themselves" when they are lost, said Msgr. Mario Lusek.

From London, where he is ministering to Italian Olympians, Msgr. Lusek spoke to Vatican Radio Aug. 9 about Alex Schwazer, who won the gold medal in race walking in 2008, but was disqualified from competing in London Aug. 6 after failing a blood test for doping.

"I believe that darkness is always lurking in the human heart. There are times when you lose that sense of light that carried you through over the course of years," Msgr. Lusek said. "I think Alex Schwazer experienced that."

The athlete was "admired by everyone, and certainly even envied, but at the same time he had his fragility, his anxieties, his fears," the chaplain said.

People should not forget, he added, that "Olympic athletes are basically youths with all the characteristics typical of being young. Sometimes they aren't able handle their limitations or fears."

Msgr. Lusek said Schwazer's story of doping before the 50-kilometer (31-mile) race should be seen as a cautionary tale of someone who took "dangerous shortcuts to arrive at that goal for which he struggled and prepared" so long.

The chaplain said he's deeply disappointed in Schwazer, but also filled with "tenderness" for the 27-year-old, and concerned that he can eventually find his way.

END


Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250