UK theologians engage government’s role in economic recovery


On Sunday five bishops questioned the morality of policies and whether people should be urged to spend more. One said Labour was “beguiled by money”.

But the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales disagreed and said he was unhappy with the “blame game”.

He told the BBC when accusing anyone of immorality the blame should be spread much further than just the government.

The five Anglican bishops of Durham, Winchester, Hulme, Manchester and Carlisle told the Sunday Telegraph the UK was beset by family breakdown, debt and poverty.

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, who is guest editing BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, said: “If we are going to accuse people of immorality it is much further than the government, it is the whole country.”

He said he was “not too happy with the blame game” adding: “Obviously, governments have a particular responsibility but so have the people, so have the cities, so have the communities, I always think that a change of heart begins locally.

“You can’t bring it about just by government.”

The government has been criticised by various church leaders over its plans to deal with the recession – which include a 2.5% temporary VAT cut aimed at boosting [consumer] spending and requiring an additional £20bn on top of already high levels of borrowing.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said spending more to tackle the recession was “like an addict returning to the drug”.

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