English official bans religious talk at World Cup


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England soccer striker Wayne Rooney has been banned from discussing his Catholic faith by an English Football Association official at the World Cup, according to a number of media reports.

Rooney had offered an explanation about why he wears a prominent cross and rosary beads around his neck when he's not playing: "I've been wearing them for about four years now and you don't usually watch training (to see them). I obviously can't wear them in games. It's my religion."

That prompted a further question, but Mark Whittle, the FA's head of media relations, interrupted Rooney in the off-camera briefing by saying: "We don't do religion", according to a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Meanwhile the German Catholic news website has created a special page on its site dedicated to the German bishops' hopes for the country's World Cup soccer team.

The page, titled: 'Weltmeisterschaft 2010 - So tippen unsere Bischofe' currently features Bishop Joachim Wanke of the Diocese of Erfurt and Bishop Norbert Trelle of the Diocese of Hildesheim.

"Despite the difficulties with the team's formation, I hope that the German National Team will master the World Cup," said Bishop Wanke. He added that he associates the World Cup with, "ideally, a fabulous summer."

"The chances are good," said Bishop Trelle. "I believe they will be among the final four, and if they catch ‘a good run,' they can be the world champions."