Archbishop calls bankers to repent for crisis

| September 17, 2009 | 0 Comments

Bankers have failed to repent of the idolatry that led to the financial crisis, the leader of the Church of England claimed this week.

“There hasn’t been a feeling of closure about what happened last year - there hasn’t been what I as a Christian would call repentance,” Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said in an interview with the BBC.

“We haven’t heard people saying, ‘Actually, no, we got it wrong, and the whole fundamental principle on which we worked was unreal, was empty.’”

The banking crisis was caused by the “idolatry” of bankers, the Archbishop claimed.

Financial institutions were “projecting reality and substance onto things that don’t have them.” he said.

Asked what we should have learned from the financial crisis, he replied: “Economics is too important to be left to economists”, and “there is no such thing as the rational self-regulating market”

Williams confessed that the church “colluded” in the bankers’ idolatry because it was “intimidated by expertise”.

He called for bankers’ bonuses to be capped and for financial markets to be more strictly regulated.

Economics should strive to create a world of equality where no one is left struggling in poverty, the Archbishop said.

“What we are looking at is the possibility of a society getting more and more dysfunctional if the levels of inequality that we have seen in the last couple of decades are not challenged,” he concluded.

Williams’s comments follow a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank, which claimed the rapid return to bonus culture in the City show real reforms have been “very limited”.

The Church of England has 80 million members in 164 countries.

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