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Time for us to demand that banking gets a moral basis
By James Walsh
Leading Christians have called on the big banks to be broken up, and for a fundamental review of banking methods to setup urgently, in the wake of the resignation of Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond and others.
Former chair of the Treasury Select Committee Lord John McFall of Alcluith has told TheUniversethat many leading figures are concerned about the possible effects of the increasing banking crisis on ordinary people.
Calling for a complete reform of the financial industry, Lord McFall said the country needed a banking system: “with sound ethical values – to make crisis less likely, and to ensure that ordinary people do not pay the price when they happen.”
The Catholic peer set up the cross party Future of Banking Commission that called for a new culture of ethics to be fos
Prime Minister condemns the
“spivvy and probably illegal” activities that have led to the banking crisis tered in the banking industry, with a professional regulator along the lines of those systems currently operating in the medical and legal professions.
Lord McFall also made an empassioned plea in the House of Lords last year for a regulator to be established. Writing as a guest blogger on the Theos ‘religion and society’ website, Chris Alexander has also said that the manner of Bob Diamond’s departure from Barclays “brings greater force to the argument that the size and complexity of banks creates structural impediments to their behaving morally and responsibly.” Mr Alexander said he believes that in an environment of extreme complexity, any form of fiscal or moral analysis becomes virtually impossible, and that the only observable thing is the output: did you make money or not?
Questions like, ‘Was it honest?’, ‘Was it too risky?’ and ‘Did you really know what you were doing?’ can be pushed to one side, he argues.
“The overwhelming complexity of many financial products and resulting uncertainty under which market participants operate can serve to drive out moral questions,” said Mr Alexander.
Continued on page 2
Universe special interview: Bishop Arthur Roche on leaving Leeds and the challenge of Rome Pages 16 and 17
“heroic” televangelist Archbishop Fulton Sheen on road to sainthood
American Catholics have been celebrating, after Pope Benedict XVI has approved the heroic virtues of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, clearing the way for the advancement of his sainthood cause.
Archbishop Sheen heroically lived Christian virtues and should be considered “venerable,” said the decree issued by the Congregation for Saints. Causes and signed by Pope Benedict.
Archbishop Sheen, who was born in Illinois in 1895 and died in New York in 1979, was an Emmywinning televangelist. His TV programme, LifeisWorthLiving, aired in the United States from 1951 to 1957.
Last September, a tribunal of inquiry was sworn in to investigate the allegedly miraculous healing of a newborn whose parents had prayed to the archbishop’s intercession.
Full story on page 12