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Sports columnist laments poor coverage of World Cup player's Catholic faith

London, England, Jun 17, 2010 / 11:12 pm (CNA).- Soccer player Wayne Rooney’s recent comment that he wears rosary beads during soccer practice because he is Catholic has piqued the interest of sports enthusiasts who hope to hear more about his faith.

Rooney, who is a striker for England’s national team in the World Cup, was at a Wednesday conference with English journalists when a reporter asked about the rosary beads he wears around his neck during soccer practices.

According to the Mirror sports columnist John Cross, Rooney looked surprised and said “I've been wearing them four years now and you don't usually watch training. Obviously I can't wear them in games."

Asked why he wears them, the sportsman replied “It’s my religion.”

An FA press officer then stepped in and said, “We don’t do religion.”

Cross said it was “a shame” that the comment was interrupted, declaring that the fact Rooney is religious is of great consequence and interest. He noted that other players such as Jermain Defoe and Kolo Toure have spoken about their faith.

“It's interesting to me and I find it a shame that the topic was cut off before it could be explored,” the Mirror columnist wrote. “We live in an openly multi-cultural society, and yet it seems at times we're afraid to actually discuss those cultures in the open.”

Rooney displayed his rosary beads before the national anthems prior to the England-U.S. match.

Noting his enjoyment of religious education, the athlete has said that he might have been a priest if he had not been successful in soccer, the London Times reports.

Fr. Edward Quinn, Rooney’s parish priest in Liverpool, presided over his marriage to Coleen McLoughlin. He told the Times he thought Rooney’s wife provided the rosary beads.

“I have seen the pictures of Wayne wearing them and it doesn’t surprise me because both he and Coleen come from families with a strong Catholic faith.

“When I presided over Wayne and Coleen’s wedding in Italy, all of the guests received a set of rosary beads, so it is clearly a symbol which means a lot to them.”

The priest added that he believes it is good when high-profile figures demonstrate their faith “so clearly” because “it can only set a positive example that helps the Church.”

“We don’t do religion.” Press Officer Interrupts Pro Soccer Player’s Response to Rosary Bead Question

by Brian Kelly  June 18th, 2010

I am always happy to find good current Catholic interest stories to post. This CNA report is definitely one. When England soccer striker Wayne Rooney married Coleen McLoughlin they gave a gift of rosary beads to all their guests. The full story is here.I am sure that American Catholic soccer stars Antonio Soave, of Catholic Athletes for Christ (he was coaching the University of Steubenville team in recent years) and Chase Hilgenbrinck would be impressed. Illinois native Hilgenbrinck played four years for Chile before signing with the New England Revolution in 2008. After playing just one year with the Rev Chase chose to pursue another vocation, the priesthood. After the season ended he entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

In an interview with the Boston Herald Hilgenbrinck said:

“After years of discernment, I feel strongly that the Lord has called me to become a priest in the Catholic Church. Playing professional soccer has been my passion for a long time and I feel blessed to have successfully lived out this dream. My passion now is to do the will of God, which is wanting only what He wants for me. Though I will miss the game of soccer, I know that I am moving on to something much greater.”

“I felt called to something greater,” Hilgenbrinck added. “At one time I thought that call might be professional soccer. In the past few years, I found my soul is hungry for something else. I discerned, through prayer, it was calling me to the Catholic Church. I do not want this call to pass me by.”

“It’s not that I’m ready to leave soccer. I still have a great passion for the game. I wouldn’t leave the game for just any other job. I’m moving on for the Lord. I want to do the will of the Lord, I want to do what he wants for me, not what I want to do for myself.”

Now, there's a reason to like Rooney some more!
A far cry from my German team, whose religious claim to fame is that their young star Mesut Ozil is known to read the koran in the locker room before games. Although I hear Miroslav Klose is a fairly observant Catholic.
(06-28-2010, 04:50 PM)Christopher Wrote: [ -> ]Although I hear Miroslav Klose is a fairly observant Catholic.

He's polish after all.
(06-28-2010, 04:55 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-28-2010, 04:50 PM)Christopher Wrote: [ -> ]Although I hear Miroslav Klose is a fairly observant Catholic.

He's polish after all.

Fish for you!
Thank you for the article I always liked Wayne Rooney, now I like him even more.
Religion and football are things that are very closely tied together in my country Scotland, like no where else in the world. Celtic have a Catholic goalkeeper Artur Boruc who is targeted for abuse. He was given a police warning for instigating trouble when he blessed himself at a Glasgow Celtic vs Glasgow Rangers game. Only in Glasgow is it illegal to bless yourself.
He only added to the problem he already had with Rangers fans when, at the following game. After we had beaten them he took off his Celtic Jersey to reveal A God Bless the Pope T-shirt. I thought it was hilarious, but some of the city rivals never seen the funny side.

Here is a documentary about the Old firm in Glasgow, do not watch if you are offended by bad language or serious bigotry.