The Curmudgeon


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Spiritual Riches

According to some radical proposals soon to be put before the general synod of the Established Church, bishops should move out of their palaces, should declare their outside earnings and financial interests, and should receive salaries no greater than those of parish priests. "At the moment, with bishops earning more money, it suggests they do more work than parish priests ... Many senior people in the Church of England hold their copy of Machiavelli close while leaving their Bible on the bookshelf," complained the proponent, whose acquaintance with the Bible is doubtless as extensive and subtle as his reading of Il Principe.

In preaching ideals of equality and fairness, it is surely a little self-defeating to invoke the Iron Age fundamentalist who thought the morals of the Bronze Age too lax and liberal and who looked forward to seeing most of the world's population thrown into eternal fire; especially since one thing the Saviour did not advocate is equal reward for equal work. Nor did His good news include any provisions for the distribution of real estate, be it ever so equitable. Though it is arguably permissible for a priest to condescend so far as to have himself ministered to from the substance of wealthy women, Jesus explicitly ordered His messengers to wander as homeless mendicants without so much as a change of clothing to their name, preaching the gospel and doing conjuring tricks while rejoicing in the approaching destruction and torment of anyone who didn't listen. The comforts and conveniences of such a way of life are all the answer anyone should need to the question of why an Established Church is necessary.


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