Archbishop of Canterbury warns of division and despair if Brexit plan is
The UK faces further “division and despair” after Brexit if any new settlement is based primarily on economic considerations rather than the needs of people, the Archbishop of Canterbury argues.Any attempt to renegotiate Britain’s place in the world based on “calculations of dubious material advantage” will fail to resolve the problems the country faces, the Most Rev Justin Welby insists.The warning comes in his first full-length book, “Dethroning Mammon”, a reflection on the power of money, drawing from his own experience of giving up highly paid job as an oil executive to living on a clerical stipend. We need a deep sense of the priority of the human person, whoever they are and wherever they come fromArchbishop of Canterbury Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, was spotted reading an advance copy of the book on the London Underground last Wednesday morning, just before the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement.In the book Archbishop Welby openly acknowledges his own “unease” at living amid the “surreal” surroundings of Lambeth Palace while speaking about issues of wealth and poverty. The Archbishop makes political arguments in his bookCredit:Leon Neal /Getty Mark Carney has been spotted reading the bookCredit:Rex / Shutterstock He argues that far from learning the lessons of the 2008 financial crash and the so-called “Great Recession” there are signs of a return to the same “debt-fuelled, crisis-creating model that led us into such trouble in the past”.He insists that it would be “absurd” to try to predict what the effect of the vote for the UK to leave the European Union, there are lessons which can and should be learnt now.“It is essential that the new United Kingdom outside Europe is not built to a design drawn by Mammon,” he writes.“To put it more clearly, materialism is not the answer to the challenges we face. Rather we need a deep sense of the priority of the human person, whoever they are and wherever they come from.“We need to remind ourselves that Mammon always deceives his followers. A campaign fought on his agenda will lead to division and despair.” The book, intended as a meditation to be used during Lent next year, argues that a tendency Britain and other western societies to judge success and worth purely by the basis of what can be measured, such as growth in GDP, has distorted and corrupted society.It is, he argues, fundamentally unchristian to view a healthy bank balance or even a strong economy as “the goal” rather than as a means to do good.“The more interconnected the world becomes, the more power is held over individuals and nations by economics, by money, by flows of finance,” he writes.He defines those forces collectively as “Mammon” a word, derived from Aramaic, used in the New Testament to mean the power of wealth or riches. In practice, however, the Archbishop’s family live in a modest flat in the medieval compound which he has actively sought to open up to new uses: inviting in a family of Syrian refugees, a community of young people on a monastic gap year and the first Roman Catholic residents of Lambeth Palace for centuries. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.