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Nick Ferrari Says: Welby is out of touch with his dwindling flock
22 April 2022, 18:07 | Updated: 29 April 2022, 10:58
I truly hope each and every one of you has a lovely weekend and for some of you that will involve a trip to church on Sunday.
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But there can be no denying the fact that in recent years the number of you who include a trip to a Church of England church as part of your regular Sunday itinerary is in rapid decline.
Research by the British Social Attitudes Survey shows that if the current rate of decline continues, Anglicanism will disappear from Britain in 2033.
By this calculation an institution that was once at the very heart of cultural, legal and religious affairs has only 11 years left.
Yet what is the "boss" of this institution doing to work out what had gone so calamitously wrong and put right this potentially fatal crisis lurking over the horizon?
Image what the chief executive of a business would be doing faced with these challenges.
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Just one week ago, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, managed to alienate a sizeable chunk of his "customers" with his ill-judged and politicised preachings concerning the government's plan to tackle the migrant crisis by sending illegal migrants to Rwanda to have their claims judged.
I can vouch for the Archbishop. I have been privileged to have interviewed him on a number of occasions and he is a thoroughly decent man.
However, here he is desperately out of touch with his flock.
Regular folk who once were the bedrock of the Church's congregation see it as a possible solution to a real problem.
Just look at the poll results, which showed 47 per cent support Pritti Patel's plan with just 26 per cent definitely opposed. intriguingly, among Labour voters support is at just 50 per cent.
But last week, in his Easter sermon, the Archbishop said "the principle must stand the judgment of God, and it cannot."
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While I wouldn't presume to challenge the nation's most senior faith leader on God's teachings, surely however he can't be suggesting "the judgement of God" allows tens of thousands of people to be preyed upon by vile human traffickers who maintain their position of power through violence and even rape?
Or those poor souls who don't make it across, and sink to an unmarked watery grave. Are they also part of that divine judgement?
No-one is suggesting that the Archbishop cannot have an opinion on such matters.
Just that using his Easter message to deliver such a highly-politicised view was a serious blunder.
Easter is a time of renewal and reflection of the enormous sacrifice God made in giving his son to save us all.
Not to use the platform to have a go at a government he doesn't like.
If the Archbishop wants to talk about ungodly behaviour, we could look at Vladimir Putin and his illegal war in Ukraine. He could even explain why he allowed churches up and down the country to be closed during lockdown, a time when spiritual comfort was arguably needed more than any time since the Second World War.
Indeed, the churches remained open during the bombing - but not through Covid.
If Justin Welby is so keen to talk politics perhaps he can give us his solutions to the cost of living crisis, inflation and climate change.
Read Nick Ferrari every week in the Sunday Express