It was interesting to note that two megastars from the secular worlds of football and film/TV – Carlo Ancelotti and Martin Sheen – were both happy to talk about their Christian faith in public in London last week. I don’t think it was a coordinated plan of evangelisation, but it might be a small sign that it’s becoming slightly more acceptable to ‘do God’ in public these days.
First, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, gave this interview with Simon Johnson in the Evening Standard:
Still, at times like these one wonders how the 51-year-old continues to cope living under such intense scrutiny.
Some cynics will look at his £6million-a-year salary as motivation enough, yet the Italian has found greater comfort in his religious beliefs rather than his bank balance.
“I am a Catholic, like 99 per cent of people from Italy, and I think my faith has helped keep me strong,” he tells me. “Sometimes religion helps you. I don’t have time to go to church but I pray every day.
“I get comfort from praying. Obviously I don’t pray because I want Chelsea to win. This is not the reason to pray. I think God has to think to other things in this world, not Chelsea.
“Religion has been in my life since I was a boy and my parents would always take me to church.
“Also at school there were some hours spent every week to teach the children to understand religion and the Bible.
“But my strength also comes from the experience I have had in my career. I know that things can’t be okay every time and sometimes you have to work through the difficulties.”
And Martin Sheen, star of Apocalypse Now and The West Wing, was in London to promote his new film The Way. He speaks here about his concern for his son Charlie Sheen:
The West Wing star said the actor, who has fought a well-documented battle with drugs and checked into rehab last month, had the backing of his family.
When asked how he was supporting his son, Sheen replied: “With prayer. We lift him up and we ask everyone who cares about him to lift him up, and lift up all those who are in the grip of drug and alcohol abuse, because they are looking for transcendence.”
Speaking at the UK premiere of his new pilgrimage film The Way at London’s British Film Institute, the 70-year-old – who acted alongside Charlie in the 1987 film Wall Street – said he would be happy to work with him in the future.
“That would be another miracle and we’d look forward to it, very much so,” he said.
In the film – directed by another of his three sons Emilio Estevez – Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who embarks on the 500-mile Camino de Santiago walk to collect the remains of his dead son.