11 Mar 2013

The dog collared oil executive

It may sound odd but on many occasions as a journalist, one is looking for moral leadership. One is of course also looking for hypocrisy.

In the Catholic Church these days sadly there has been both and the Conclave which opens tomorrow will define, perhaps, which way the men in red want to take the church.

A month into office, we are just beginning to assess who Justin Welby, the latest Archbishop of Canterbury, is. His predecessor was devout, radical, passionate, and, we anticipated, potentially political.

Nevertheless he has managed to move on to running a Cambridge College as politically undamaged goods. A good Archbishop but, say some, the Anglican Church continued to lose traction, not least because of its confusion about sex and sexuality.

We have been told excitedly that long, long ago, Justin Welby was an oil executive. Not necessarily the ingredient for a political (small p) Archbishop. And yet his desertion of the oil field for the “Lord’s work”, could be seen to have been quite a revolutionary move.

There is some sense of reassurance that he was already on the parliamentary Banking Commission which is today determined to amend the Government banking bill.  The Commission describes key elements of the bill as “weak”. Suddenly having an Archbishop telling the government of the day that their proposal for the management of the banks is “weak”, feels rather exciting.

Couple it with his leading 40 of his senior episcopal colleagues in damning the governments welfare cuts affecting children and families over the weekend, and, 30 days in, Justin Welby already seems to be a potentially more than interesting Archbishop.

Potentially already perhaps a member of what the Government might regard as the “awkward squad”, and we hacks might report as practicing ‘moral leadership’.

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7 reader comments

  1. Robert Sully says:

    John,
    Yes, its good to see the millionaire Archbishop Justin Welby damning the Governments welfare cuts. I’m reminded of camels, needles, rich men and the Kingdom of Heaven.

    1. Philip says:

      Over many years of observing & participating in discussions & debates, often political ones, I’ve noticed that when one side turns to attack the opponent rather than the opponent’s arguments, it generally means they don’t reckon they’ve got a very good answer to those arguments.

    2. Steve Willis says:

      Yep! Why do bishops live in palaces and why will the Pope have a butler?

  2. John Hurr says:

    I was astounded that the Justin Welby had spoken out on the morality of welfare reform. At long last the Church has someone who is willing to stand up for it’s beliefs. And it certainly hit home as evidenced by a Tory lackey (saying something like) the Church had no business interfering in politics.

  3. guess says:

    Robert – he is an EX oil exec, give him a chance. money doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it depends what you do with it.

  4. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    With JW we are keeping abreast with the sometimes unwritten JR- like reputation of the RC church.

  5. Robert Sully says:

    Welcome Pope Francis – a man who chooses to live in an apartment rather than a palace – who travels to work by public transport – does his own cooking and has devoted his whole life to the Church. Contrast Justin Welby!!

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