Following a translation mistake, the Pope today beatified Gary Numan. In a synthesiser-studded event in Birmingham, the 82-year-old pontiff - old enough to remember the birth of electro-pop - hailed Numan as the clear leader in the race to British rock sainthood. Benedict XVI praised Numan's early conversion from Stratocaster to Mini-Moog, recalled that he had been through hell after the release of the Metal Rhythm album, and noted that he's already the patron saint of the Cats' Protection League.
Acknowledging that all candidates must perform at least one miracle before they're canonised, the Pope said: "'Are Friends Electric' topped ze charts for at least three weeks, and if zat isn't a miracle, I don't know vot is."
A Vatican spokesman added: "Leading his Tubeway Army out of the wilderness of Punk, before bravely going solo, and surviving the critical onslaught against his 1981 Berserker tour, make Mr Numan a modern-day Moses. He even parted the Red Sea - or at least, made a pretty big splash when he crashed his plane there during that round-the-world flight."
Rejecting concerns that some of Numan's recent lyrics are distinctly anti-religious, Bishop Norman Pulpit from the Archdiocese of Wither-on-the-Vine explained: "When Gary writes such lines as 'I'm not asking for love or redemption, I'll sell my guilt for your need,' or 'The dark façade ends, we're independent,' he is evidently being ironic, or talking about Ozzy Osbourne rather than God. The Numanoids' gothic clothing has long been a source of fashion inspiration among our Cardinals. And Gary is clearly no danger to small children, as these days there's no-one in his audiences under 45."
Canon Fodder of St Martin-in-the-Fjords added: "After a minute of Gary's singing, people find a hymn's the most beautiful sound on Earth, even when it's sung by the six septuagenarians and an ostrich that make up my church choir."
Replying to the adulation, a speechless Gary Numan said: "God only knows, I'm praying to the aliens. Remind me to smile when the machines rock."
Meanwhile, discarded cardinal John Henry Newman is launching a new greatest-hits collection, "The Hip-Hop Idea of a University," in a desperate attempt to regain the Pope's ear. If he has any left.