Tuesday, 22 November 2011

CAFOD's Annual Pope Paul VI Memorial Lecture

Fr Christopher Jamison delivered CAFOD's annual Pope Paul VI Memorial lecture last Friday at St Mary and St Michael's Church in East London. 

In his lecture, entitled ‘Charity begins at home: but what is charity and where is home?’ Fr Jamison said, “We need a William Wilberforce of the banking world [to] bring about the abolition of immorality that will not weaken our economy, only strengthen it.”

Speaking in the ‘Cathedral of the East End’, Fr Jamison was quick to point out the dire financial juxtaposition between the borough of Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest in the entire country, and the square mile of the City that is right next door – possibly the most wealthy area in the UK.

Council flats in Tower Hamlets overlook the City's financial district

People from these areas have more in common than anyone might think though as they both caused a media storm in the form of the financial crisis and summer riots. Fr Jamison blamed these events on the ‘loss of purpose’ people have suffered from. The bankers and the rioters must, according to Fr Jamison, rediscover their purpose in life, before establishing their rights over their responsibilities.

People often turn to the Church to find this lost sense of purpose, Fr Jamison noted. He urged the Church to be more proactive in practicing the values it preaches, playing a positive role in reclaiming local communities by addressing the needs of those closest to home. The places people live need to become places where they feel they belong, and have that sense of purpose.

Fr Jamison also called for a renewed sense of conscience and morality in the financial sector, suggesting a compulsory 'Ethical Training' course for those working in investment banks. He called for bankers to realise that their career is also a vocation and they need to the ethically sound foundations of their profession.

Extracts from the lecture can be read on the CAFOD website, by following the link.

The lecture was extremely well attended and everyone quickly made their way from the chilly church into the school hall next door to investigate the rumours of hot drinks and nibbles. Many of the canap├ęs flew in the face of Friday Penance but by 10pm on a cold Friday evening the Bishop’s were willing to offer us special dispensation. As the crowd thinned, the music was turned off and the wine had run out, we all went our separate ways to revive ourselves over the weekend and regain some energy for the week ahead, featuring Catholic Voices and dinner at Allen Hall. 

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