Fr. Christopher Jamison connect the dots in a reflection presented at CAFOD (Catholic Overseas Development Agency UK) that leads to rediscovering forgotten truths about a banking industry.

Independent Catholic News provides the full text of Fr Christopher Jamison’s lecture
Here are some teasers that might intrigue you enough to read the entire presentation
Charity begins at home: but what is charity and where is home? 

Words are two-edged swords: they can connect us through shared meanings or they can  divide us through misunderstandings. ‘Charity begins at home’ can be understood both as an invitation that unites and as a slogan that divides. The origins of the phrase are lost in the distant past but in times of crisis, the phrase can fall into malicious hands. In the name of  ‘charity begins at home,’ people can tap into our anxieties about migration and stir up neo-nationalist hatred or, in smoother tones, they can prey on our fears about old age and sell us unnecessary pension schemes. Preying on our insecurity about home is a sure way to make ‘charity begins at home’ into a rallying cry for selfishness. Yet the phrase also has the potential to be a rallying cry for creative new ways of expressing generosity and this creative potential is what we’ll look at this evening.

So let me answer the question ‘what is charity’ by showing its connection to faith and hope.

At home in our neighbourhoods

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A person’s home is wherever they can bring the grace of positive purpose to bear on life. So charity begins at home translates today as the local grace of positive purpose.

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At home in our banks

Charity and banks are not words usually found in the same sentence but if we look at banks  from the perspective of their purpose the two come together.
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Justice is ‘the primary way of charity’xiii says Pope Benedict, in which case a just banking system is a basic requirement of charity. The financial services industry employs over one million people in the UK and generates up to 8% of our national wealth.

Banking really is part of our home in Britain but our banking system also has a profound effect on other countries as well. Creating a just banking system here in Britain is an example of charity that begins at home but with global effects because London is a globalfinancial centre.

….the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published a statement on the global economy signed by Cardinal Turkson, followed swiftly by the Archbishop of Canterbury giving his support to many of the Pontifical Council’s proposals.

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To sum up: If loss of purpose lies beneath the disorderly behavior of the young seen on the streets of Tower Hamlets last year, then loss of purpose also lies beneath the disorderly behavior of the bankers who work in the offices that rise above those streets. We need to enable both disadvantaged youth and manic bankers to rediscover their purpose in life. I have sketched out how our neighbourhoods and our financial services can cease to be worlds to which people belong and can become worlds that belong to people. For those of us in active communion with the Church, this is an expression of our purpose in Christ. For those who come to join us in the Courtyard of the Gentiles, this is an expression of their deepest purpose in life. This Courtyard is open to everybody from unemployed youth to highly paid bankers; both alike can discover their vocation there. Here is our home where charity can begin. May the Lord inspire us all to embrace the vision of life described by St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: ‘God has set forth his purpose in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.’


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