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On July 26, 2013, The Telegraph reported that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was deciding how much materialistic sin the Church of England could engage in:

The Most Rev Justin Welby said he had been left “irritated” after it emerged that the Church helped to fund Wonga – a day after he had pledged to put the controversial loan company out of business by throwing open a network of parish churches to promote non-profit credit unions.

The Archbishop, a former oil executive, said the Church would now be reviewing its investment arrangements but that the organisation has to decide “how much sin” it can tolerate.

He admitted that the rules currently allow the Church to invest in companies engaging in activities it is morally opposed to.

These can indirectly include pornography. The Archbishop said that if the C of E invests in a hotel chain, pornographic videos or television channels are part of the service provided.

And what about shifting from Wonga to promotion of non-profit credit unions for payday loans? More information required.

Of course, what we do not know is how other state churches (e.g. Sweden, Germany) and the Catholic Church invest. Yes, we know of the Catholic banking scandals, but there must be more of a general mainstream nature to their investments.

The Archbishop is right to say that this is a complex issue with many variables to consider. The C of E should be self-financing to the extent which it can. I would not wish to see identity-based lobbying groups or other money-rich entities (consider Qatar’s massive investment in the UK and France) financing my church and thereby extracting certain concessions in preaching and administration.

On the other hand, there is the danger that, by investing in short-term, high-interest lending, the C of E could fall into the moneychanging trap that so angered Jesus. He also railed against the corruption in the purchase of sacrificial animals in the temple. A poor shepherd might bring in his cleanest, fittest animal only to have a priest reject it, forcing the man to buy one from the temple. (See John 2:13-22.) Therefore, today’s C of E’s investment portfolio needs careful consideration and management. I wonder if they pray for guidance. I certainly would were I on their investment committee.

Not surprisingly, the warning light is on for Anglicans who are already suspicious of our elitist, left-leaning clergy. James Higham at Nourishing Obscurity points out:

This is not a religious post, it’s political.   There is an organization, it’s called the Church.  It does its thing, prostitutes do theirs.   The Church has a set of precepts.   These may, to many, be outdated, outmoded, fuddy-duddy, stick-in-the-mud, might be wrong in their eyes, might be homophobic or anti-Narrative.

Whatever.

The thing is, there is a set of precepts.   Welby is trying to be all things to all people, he’s doing the Relativism Shimmy.   He has no right whatever, spiritual or temporal, to do this.   The only thing he can do, whilst he holds that position and wears that mitre, is champion that Church of his for all he’s worth.

He’s succumbed to leftism and is deliberately wishy-washy, like his little-lamented predecessor.   What’s worse, the key questions which the laity have shown they are of one opinion on, the biblical opinion, is not shared by Welby and his cronies.   The enemy is within the citadel and I can see the smoke from here.

Few traditionalist Anglicans missed the critique of Welby by the Revd Peter Mullen earlier this year in The Telegraph:

He is of course an establishment man. I do not mean to suggest by that the old establishment based on the 16th century and the Elizabethan Settlement and supported by luminous divines such as Hooker, Law and Lancelot Andrewes. That wonderful creation was put to death decades ago. No, I mean the new establishment: a hierarchy among the bishops and in the Synod of Left-wing modernisers, devotees of all the secular fads such as diversity, social cohesion, political correctness and, of course, apostles of that sublime superstition, global warming.

Accordingly, Bishop Welby takes the Left-wing attitude towards economics in general and the banks in particular. These things, “…must be rebuilt from the ruins of the financial crisis to become something that helps people rather than being there for people to help it.” The banks must discover “a social purpose.” That “must” implies that if they fail so to discover it, then it will be discovered for them by higher authority.

So it’s banker-bashing as usual. There is no mention of the clear truth that in this country the crisis was produced by the excessive borrowing and spending of the Blair-Brown years, their employment of an additional million civil servants and their vast extension of the client state by increasing and proliferating an already excessive spending on welfare.

The bishop does speak from the highest moral ground: “One principle that seems to me to be clear. We cannot replace what was destroyed in 2008; we can only replace it with something that is dedicated to the support of human society, the common good and solidarity.” Who are this “We” who will do the replacing, we might ask? But the point to notice about what the bishop is saying here, is his supreme confidence in the objective infallibility of his own thoughts: he begins by mentioning a “principle” but proceeds only to offer his opinion. Clearly the implication must be that he regards his own private opinions as matters of principle. This is dangerous. It has been known to lead to demagoguery.

Back to the current Wonga controversy, about which the Archbishop said:

it was almost impossible for the Church to make an investment that was not somehow tainted.

He said: “If you exclude any contact with anything that directly or indirectly gets in any way bad, you can’t do anything at all.”

Signalling a potential review of its entire investment portfolio, he added: “I think we have to review these levels and make sure we are consistent between what we’re saying and what we’re doing.”

May the Holy Spirit guide him and his advisors in the way of righteousness.

After that is sorted out, the rest of us hope our prayers for a return to Anglican orthodoxy are answered.

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