Sunday, 10 March 2013

Anglican Bishops united .... opposition to some of the Coalition Government's welfare reforms.
Yes, it is clearly unfair that those who, for no fault of their own, find themselves at the bottom of the economic and social pecking order, are forced to bear a disproportionate  burden as a result of the appalling mismanagement of western economies over the last decade or so. For those who have little or nothing, 'burden sharing' becomes a matter not of cutting back on unwanted luxuries but a stark issue of bare survival. It was always thus: given the nature of human societies (all human societies without exception) and the fallen human nature which creates them, we are never, in that foolish phrase, "all in this together."
Those bishops of the Church of England who have signed the open letter [here] to members of the House of Lords are undoubtedly right to express their concern; those who lead the Church have a clear duty to care for the poorest and most vulnerable, those whom St Lawrence called 'the treasures of the Church,' but it is also important not to give the impression that the best way to protect the most vulnerable is to encourage the unreformed continuation, even growth, of a culture of state welfarism (and the concomitant growth in the power and reach of the State into all our lives) which is becoming rapidly unsustainable, not only for us but for our children and grandchildren, who will be forced somewhere down the line to pay the full cost of rising debt. The fall-out from any future economic catastrophe of that nature will again hit most hard the poorest and those least able to adapt, and would make today's problems seem minor in comparison.
Bishops have a duty to care for Christ's poor; on the other hand they also have the duty to teach the faith and to explain how a truly compassionate and Christian society would best order its life - and not just in terms of economics.

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