(Independent) Ian Birrell –Politics and religion do mix well after all

Once again, the Church of England was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, below, its relatively new leader, denounced the demons of payday lending, vowing to defeat them with the church’s own credit unions. Yet almost instantly it emerged that his own organisation had played a role in their creation through its huge investment funds.
For those of us who take little interest in this declining institution beyond wondering how it remains an established church in our multi-cultural age, it is just the latest farce involving bungling bishops and clerical contortions.

Yet this weekend, even Catholic-born atheists such as me are forced to concede that the current resident of Lambeth Palace is emerging as one of the most distinctive voices in the country. His deft political touch, sharp media abilities and displays of decent humanity could even help restore his church to the role expected by its followers after decades during which it failed to capitalise on its centrality to national life.

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