As it did following the tragic eath of Princess Diana, The Sun again assumed the role of England’s spiritual leader when, in March, another tragedy seemed likely.

Although the country was looking for guidance, Lambeth was silent. Rowan too busy rehearsing his faux pas for the Andy Marr Show. Westminster was also distracted from calling the country to prayer. England’s Roman Numero Uno was wondering how he could make Benedict’s Apologia as appealing as John Henry’s.

What was the issue needing intercession? Prayer for a Hung Parliament so that expenses fiddlers could be trundled off to Tyburn? A barbecue summer to turn the heat up on climate change deniers?

Nothing as trivial. The problem: Wayne Rooney’s injured metatarsal. With Becks vexed by his Achilles (tendon, not his latest perfume sponsorship) England needed Rooney’s rifle to shoot goals in next month’s World Cup. Even FiF ignored England’s plight.

When prayer was urgently needed for Wayne’s physiotherapy, ‘Breaking News’ was offering Bishop Burnham on Liturgy.

However, Heaven heard The Sun’s call. Wayne’s ankle was marvellously restored. Couch potatoes will now be able to tune their televisions to view the spud faced nipper playing in South Africa. and lager-fuelled English fans able to re-enact Rorke’s Drift.

Last year was that of St Thérese, and her bones made a spiritually uplifting tour. Could 2010 be the year of Wayne’s Metatarsal?

The Roman Church has long valued relics. Could those departing for the Ordinariate, Roma Secunda, enhance their patrimony by taking with them the cult of Wayne’s Miraculous Metatarsal? The Spud Faced Nipper in the same team as The Little Flower.

The wondrous power of Rooney’s Metatarsal was shown when Gordon Brown invoked its English owner when attacking the Tories. Broon, son of a nation whose football motto is ‘Any b***s but England’.

Alan Edwards