.- Soccer player Wayne Rooneyâs 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 Englandâs 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 âI'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 âItâs my religion.â
An FA press officer then stepped in and said, âWe donât do religion.â
Cross said it was âa shameâ 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.
âIt's interesting to me and I find it a shame that the topic was cut off before it could be explored,â the Mirror columnist wrote. âWe live in an openly multi-cultural society, and yet it seems at times we're afraid to actually discuss those cultures in the open.â
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, Rooneyâs parish priest in Liverpool, presided over his marriage to Coleen McLoughlin. He told the Times he thought Rooneyâs wife provided the rosary beads.
âI have seen the pictures of Wayne wearing them and it doesnât surprise me because both he and Coleen come from families with a strong Catholic faith.
âWhen I presided over Wayne and Coleenâs 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.â
The priest added that he believes it is good when high-profile figures demonstrate their faith âso clearlyâ because âit can only set a positive example that helps the Church.â