I report today from outside Lambeth Palace in London, home of The Archbishop of Canterbury. I used the bridge to cross the river as I didn’t think walking across the river itself would be looked upon that favorably in these circles. Today two of our most senior clerics have been doing their own bit of chasing the money-changers out of the Temple.
Times Business online reported this morning: “Leaders of the Church of England launched fierce attacks on the world’s stock market traders last night, condemning them as bank robbers and asset strippers and calling for a judicial review into Britain’s financial services. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York demanded stronger regulation and an end to speculation and living on debt.”
Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, is reported as saying “The love of money is the root of all evil.” He said: “We have all gone to this temple called money. We have all worshipped at it. No one is guiltless . . . we have all become enslaved.”
Speaking at the Worshipful Company of International Bankers’ annual dinner in London, Sentamu said: “To a bystander like me, those who made £190 million deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS, in spite of a very strong capital base, and drove it into the arms of Lloyds TSB, are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers. We find ourselves in a market system which seems to have taken its rules of trade from Alice in Wonderland.”
As I look about me, at the splendour of Lambeth Palace, when I consider the history of religion in this country, the wealth, the control by the Church in times past over a repressed people I cannot help but marvel that the Banks are being chastised. Next we will hear that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be instructing brokers not to short any shares if the Church of England holds stock……. hang on, just a moment…I stand corrected… the studio is telling me through my earpiece that the Archbishop does not want any short selling of shares where the Church has an involvement.
I spoke to a vicar who was about to go into the palace. I asked him if he was taking some loaves and fishes in for lunch. He smiled wryly and told me that the sack was full of money. He had just taken his savings out of a local bank just in case things got worse. I asked him if he was worried about theft. He raised his eyes heavenwards and told me… “We have just seen a form of theft on a global scale, perpetrated by banking sinners…. and… it is unlikely that any of the inhabitants in here will steal my money. We worship a different God in here.”
It was at this point that a young priest walked towards me, a benign smile playing on his lips, his eyes fierce with zeal. He produced a small bottle and started flicking cold water at me…. and then he said “I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are, along with all your minions now attacking this servant of God, by the mysteries of the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the descent of the Holy Spirit, by the coming of our Lord for judgment, that you tell me by some sign your name, and the day and hour of your departure. I command you, moreover, to obey me to the letter, I who am a minister of God despite my unworthiness; nor shall you be emboldened to harm in any way this creature of God, or the bystanders, or any of their possessions.”
I left…I got the point…..I felt quite chilly as it happens… I’m still not entirely sure whether the priest had exorcised the demon from me or if I was the demon…
This is Charon, reporting from Lambeth Palace
Grateful to fellow blogger May Contain Nuts for alerting me to story in Guardian revealing that Church of England were into short selling in unbelievable financial markets as well as the general unbelievable stuff they are in to. Wonderfully ironic…. but…. entirely consistent with Church practices going back over centuries. Bank robbers?
I was rather busy on Friday doing work – and then I had to go to a very demanding wine tasting. As a result I did not have time to read all the papers on Friday.