Newsweek has just published a somewhat prickly interview with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, by Robert Chalmers, touching on questions of prayer (“Prayer isn’t a means of making things happen. If God exists, God is worth talking to and listening to. That’s the simple way of putting it”), corporate ethics, wealth and the relationship of religion and the state:
Does he believe he was chosen by God?
“The church recognised that I was the appropriate person to be the next Archbishop.”
“Meaning God, speaking via the church?”
“Yes,” says Welby. “Probably. I hope so.”
Chalmers asks Welby about criticism of the seeming contradictions between the wealth of his positions (past and present), the church’s “gospel of poverty” and the perspective that the church’s money could be used elsewhere.
“I spent 10 years in parishes on a very low income.”
“Having once lived it up in your ﬂat near the Louvre?”
“Is there a case for selling oﬀ this grandeur?”
“Yes,” replies Welby. “But what would we do with the money? People say, ‘Give the church’s money away’. We do,” he adds, with some warmth. “We have [a thud as he strikes the table] 8,000 clergy working [thud] for communities [thud] day [thud] in and day out. We have [thud] chaplains in every regiment, [thud] every prison, [thud] every hospital. [Thud] Working their guts out. We pay them. That’s giving money away.”
In the end, Chalmers describes Welby as “courageous, humane and thoughtful,” though he admits, “I sense I’m unlikely to be asked back here for lunch.” Read the interview here.
Posted by Cara Ellen Modisett