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on the dole. The poor should not be blamed for the greed of the rich.

Cove­tous­ness - the Greek word means ‘the de­sire to have more than some­body else’ - is men­tioned as idol­a­try by Paul (Colos­sians 3, 5), and the struc­ture of most mod­ern com­pa­nies - cor­po­ra­tions are ‘ar­ti­fi­cial people’ in law— may be idol­a­trous too. The Bi­ble tells us from Gen­e­sis to Rev­e­la­tion to avoid idol­a­try. Shouldn’t we be con­cen­trat­ing on this dan­ger, rather than at­tack­ing so­cial­ism?

Jonathan Goll,

Bart­ley Green, Birm­ing­ham Sir, Peter Mullen’s ar­ti­cle ‘What next? The Pope is a Catholic??’ sad­dens me, be­cause it is clear that he doesn’t re­al­ize how many Bi­ble-be­liev­ing Chris­tians are so­cial­ist. Like him, when I hear yet an­other at­tempt to ex­plain away the Bi­ble, to say Je­sus’ mir­a­cles didn’t hap­pen, or to just as­sume that the con­tem­po­rary view is au­to­mat­i­cally the right one, I find my teeth set on edge. I agree with Dean Inge that, if the Church is mar­ried to the Spirit of the Age, it will be di­vorced in the next!

I have also found that the wrong sort of lib­eral think­ing, sway­ing with the breeze, is pale pink in prac­tice. Gen­uine so­cial­ists rock the boat too much, and the sort of per­son Peter is ob­ject­ing to pa­tron­izes the unions, for ex­am­ple, rather than re­ally sup­ports people speak­ing for the poor.

In the 20th century, the “so­cial gospel” seems to me to have been rather Phari­saic, and I’m glad, that when those ideas were fash­ion­able, in the 60s, I, com­ing from a mid­dle­class back­ground, saw through their sim­plis­tic qual­ity and re­jected them. How­ever, wors­en­ing per­sonal cir­cum­stances taught me how dif­fi­cult life can be for those who fall through the cracks, and I came to so­cial­ist be­liefs the hard way.

Matthew 23, verses 2 and 3 are in­struc­tive. The Pharisees gave pi­ous lec­tures, but they weren’t ac­tu­ally wrong. (Their er­ror was in­stead to ‘say, and do not’, and lec­ture ev­ery­body!).

I live in the poor­est Dio­cese in the coun­try, Birm­ing­ham, in a coun­cil flat. There are in­deed a few around me who are wastrels, but many of my neigh­bours are hon­est hard­work­ing people who are des­per­ate for a job. If they do get a job it’s on one of those wretched zero-hour con­tracts, and we have much in-work poverty lo­cally. Mean­while, the huge multi-na­tional firms are avoid­ing and evad­ing pay­ing gi­gan­tic sums in tax - Je­sus told us to pay what is due to Cae­sar - and the na­tional deficit is largely caused by their fail­ure to pay rather than by the very small sums, in com­par­i­son, mis­ap­pro­pri­ated

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