Monday, June 30, 2014

Church of England's Wonga woe

"Church ethical investors defend their stake in Wonga. Un-*******-believable," tweets the Rev'd Giles Fraser. And he is absolutely right.

The Church of England's financial arm has an interest in the payday lending firm, believed to be around £100,000. But this apparently forms part of much bigger pooled fund, and it isn't possible to get rid of the Wonga element without risking as much as £9million on the whole package. So the Ethical Investment Advisory Group of the Church of England has decided to retain the shares in 5,853% APR Wonga, and they do so in a glossy brochure with an appeal to the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Mt 13:24-30): "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."

So, Wonga must prosper for the Church of England's investment fund to prosper. But when it comes to cashing in, the Wonga shares are not destroyed, as the parable ordains. Nor are the proceeds of exorbitant usury bound in separate bundles for (say) the specific alleviation of poverty. No, the shares are simply sold on to another investor, and the funds enrich priestly pension pots. The Ethical Investment Advisory Group explains:
Nevertheless, we are in the process of tightening our recommendations regarding investment restrictions, both in terms of the maximum percentage of restricted activities that may take place within permitted investments and our rules around pooled funds, which is where the investment in Wonga occurred. Pooled funds are often the only way to access certain asset classes and investment strategies – including venture capital, which can not only increase financial returns for investors but also serve society. Even so, difficult choices remain and it is inevitable that the investing bodies will from time to time graze their knees as they interact with a complex and ambiguous business world. But in our view, it is better to stay on the field of play than to sit on the sidelines.
And they helpfully illustrate this point with a picture:

Marvellous, isn't it?

The thing is, they have spectacularly missed the point. It may indeed be impossible to be 100% 'ethical' in one's investments, for shares in a hotel chain may indeed lead to porno films, and a stake in a bank might incorporate investment in military ordnance.

But when the Archbishop of Canterbury turned over the Wonga tables and "asked for aspects of ethical investment policy to be reviewed", he wasn't asking for a clever financial fudge: he clearly wanted rid of them, for they were a manifest embarrassment, and he said so.

He is of the view that Wonga is shamelessly exploitative and unethical, not to say 5,853% evil. He has advocated the establishment of a network of credit unions in order to help the poorest and most dispossessed in society, and explained his objective unequivocally: "I’ve met the head of Wonga," the Archbishop said, "and we had a very good conversation and I said to him quite bluntly ‘we’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence’."

It's difficult to compete a company out of existence when you're active underpinning their share price.

It's difficult to make the money-lenders redundant when you're contributing to their accumulated wealth.

It is impossible to minister with integrity if you do not practise what you preach.

We are now at the point where the Ethical Investment Advisory Group of the Church of England is unethically undermining the ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury. They are permitting Mammon to subvert his mission to the poor and hinder his witness for justice, compassion and truth. It will not be possible for Archbishop Justin ever again to rail against Wonga usury without fingers pointing straight back into his face and his critics crying "Hypocrite!". They won't be interested in reasoned financial nuances and the subtle penalty clauses of 'pooled' investments.

Imagine for one moment if the Vatican Bank were found to have shares in Durex.


Blogger Happy Jack said...

Absolutely spot on Your Grace.

Happy Jack chuckled greatly at this:

"Imagine for one moment if the Vatican Bank were found to have shares in Durex."

Please don't give them ideas!

30 June 2014 at 10:19  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Happy Jack,
It would be quite ethical in the Vaticans eyes to have shares in Condom production since they are advocated for the prevention STD's. A plausible excuse.

Your Grace,
At last someone is exposing the machinations of the corporate giant that the CofE is. It's prime business interest is in deceiving it's followers into thinking that they will go to Heaven, which in many cases, can't be assured.
The funds they collect are mostly fraudulent so it does not matter how they use them or where they get there interest from.

30 June 2014 at 10:28  
Blogger Len said...

Vatican Bank shares in Durex?. ....perish the thought.

When' the rich young man' asked Jesus "what must I do to follow you?" Jesus tested him by saying "give all you have to the poor and follow me".
Jesus knew that this mans wealth meant more to him than following Christ. Are we prepared to give up all to follow Christ?.
The moral of this story is as relevant today as it was then...

30 June 2014 at 10:29  
Blogger Guy Jones said...

@ Shadrach

Condoms encourage sexual activity by minimising the risk of pregnancy.

30 June 2014 at 10:36  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

The Wonga investment is completely inappropriate.

Ezekiel 18:13 He lends at interest and takes a profit. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.,

What shall it profit the CofE if it gains a few quid and loses whats left of its soul?

Instead of backing a money lender that rips off the poor to the tune of 5853% they would be advised to sell even at a loss and put money where they are "lending to the Lord" instead:

Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.

30 June 2014 at 10:41  
Blogger Guy Jones said...

Hasn't the CofE always loved the kingdom of this world more than the kingdom of God?

30 June 2014 at 11:06  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


The thread isn't about condoms but, simply by way of correction, Pope Benedict did not "advocate" the use of condoms for prevention of HIV.

In his own words:

“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanisation of sexuality.”

It's nuanced and was a personal reflection - not the Church's position.

Len, perish the thought, indeed, and condoms too!

30 June 2014 at 11:45  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"Woe unto you:

that are rich: for ye have received your consolation.

that are full now: for ye shall hunger.

that laugh now: for ye shall mourn and weep.

when all men shall speak well of you: for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets."

30 June 2014 at 11:50  
Blogger Shadrach said...

The thread I believe is partly about what are ethical investments and what are not.
A lot of questionable activities can be justified in one way or another. The money changers were not whipped out of the temple because of what they were doing (providing a type of service to the worshipers) but the manner in what they were doing.
Even Wonga provides a service. It's just that because of the volatile nature of the market, their interest rates reflect the investors risk.
Is this really the interest rate they charge? 'Five thousand, eight hundred and fifty three per cent? when I first read it I thought it was 5 point 853%
He is of the view that Wonga is shamelessly exploitative and unethical, not to say 5,853%
Although people in financial difficulty have a need, one can only agree that this is extortionate.

30 June 2014 at 12:09  
Blogger Ivan said...

People who on go payday loans will never get out of debt, as they are essentially borrowing from the future for present needs, with no prospect of ever redeeming their loans. In the nature of things they will not be able to get the kind of pay that will make redemption possible. Its a kind of drug, which responsible parties should seek to eradicate as the "poor will always be with us". The stupid even more so.

30 June 2014 at 12:47  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Ivan, agreed but nowadays people do get themselves in situations where they need short term assistance. That's why the Church organising food banks and credit unions is so positive.

Happy Jack's 'children', they're in their late 20's and 30's, use the "Bank of Dad" quite regularly! Interest free and oft times they "forget" the repayment. Jack keeps a record of all transactions.

Everyone needs a support system around them. Better it comes from their families and, where this is not available, from the Church or some other charitable source.

30 June 2014 at 13:20  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Exactly what percentage of C of E income are we talking about?

As I would hate to be commenting on say 0.0001% as if it were a major factor, and I am sure I am not alone. If anyone has ever held stock in any shares or funds here, and it feels as if most have not, you will realise the practical difficulties involved in making sure that the source is 100% pure. But let us not pretend that this is not a problem we find day to day with just about everything in life. Who has a 100% pure income stream here? That is that the people who pay you have never put a foot wrong, never printed an iffy picture or claimed too much in expenses or stepped over the mark from entertaining clients to partially offering backhanders- in kind?

I think we are in danger of hypocrisy, and I will decline from pointing the finger!!

30 June 2014 at 13:56  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Buying the Wonga shares was a mistake in the first place, as Archbishop Welby has explained with great clarity. But now that it’s got them, for better or for worse, the Church has a responsibility to manage its investment portfolio competently. The policy summary on the back page of the brochure seems to strike a reasonable balance: The EIAG recommends against investment in any company involved in indiscriminate weaponry … the production or distribution of pornography … tobacco, gambling, nonmilitary firearms, high interest rate lending or human embryonic cloning. A new policy on alcohol is in the process of implementation …

30 June 2014 at 14:16  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Lucy, why are you so determined to defend this?

As HG points out it is wider than the investment portfolio alone. It damages the credibility of Justin Welby, a man experienced in the ways of the financial markets.

"We are now at the point where the Ethical Investment Advisory Group of the Church of England is unethically undermining the ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury .... It will not be possible for Archbishop Justin ever again to rail against Wonga usury without fingers pointing straight back into his face and his critics crying "Hypocrite!". They won't be interested in reasoned financial nuances and the subtle penalty clauses of 'pooled' investments."

Some wisdom is needed here - as well as purity of intention.

30 June 2014 at 14:39  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Uncle Brian@14:16
high interest rate lending.

If they do nothing to extricate themselves from a stake in Wonga they are condemned by their own policies.

30 June 2014 at 14:41  
Blogger Chiff said...

Does the ABC have any influence or authority over the Ethical Investment Advisory Group of the Church of England?. It has evidently ignored him.

30 June 2014 at 14:42  
Blogger dav phi said...

Shares in Durex - that's stretching it a bit.

30 June 2014 at 14:50  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I have some shares in National Grid. They own the electricity distribution network.

Abusers of children and preachers of global jihad use electricity to access the internet.

And my taxes fund abortion.

At what point do I as a shareholder and taxpayer become culpable?

30 June 2014 at 14:50  
Blogger Ivan said...

HJ till I was drawing down on the bank of mom and sis I was of the opinion that the poor should eat cake. Nothing like experience to cure one of flippancy

30 June 2014 at 15:33  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Agreed, Jay Bee, that they need to find a way to unload the embarrassing Wonga shares. But they should be careful not to incur a loss. After all, as His Grace pointed out in his post,
No, the shares are simply sold on to another investor, and the funds enrich priestly pension pots.

Buying the Wonga shares in the first place has turned out to be an embarrassing mistake, but selling then at a loss, or acting too quickly to get rid of them at any price, wouldn't rectify the first mistake, it would just add a second mistake, wouldn't it?

30 June 2014 at 15:50  
Blogger David Waters said...

Perhaps the C of E should rely on more ethical sources on income, such as,ahem, the Freemasons:
Here the Anglican church can trouser £20,000 and all they have to do is to host a few hundred members of a secretive society in Gloucester Cathedral, as they did in March 2014. Easy money really. And the chaps in aprons didn't look anything like as daft as the Dean, the "Very Reverend" Stephen Lake, in his frock.

30 June 2014 at 16:52  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Ivan, when Happy Jack was in dire straights his family couldn't help at all. As a result, he learned the hard way to live within his means, go without when need be and to put money aside for unexpected emergencies.

Sometimes Jack wonders if it is wise giving as much help to his children as he sometimes does. He is also against credit cards and all sorts of easy lending.

Still, as Jack said, he does keep a record and a day of reckoning will arrive!

30 June 2014 at 17:56  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

So what exactly is a non-military firearm? Is there some difference between the Glock 9mm pistol sold to a police dept and the same weapon sold to a private citizen? Assuming of course that a police dept is covered under 'non-military.'

Oh, and I do find it hysterical that an organization committed to purchasing large amounts of wine would find it unethical to invest in alcohol. I guess you can buy it without getting dirty. Just so long as you don't make a profit.

What would church apparatchiks do without their wine and cheese? Without their fifth of bourbon? You have to be able to buy it, it guess. It's only civilized. But just to be safe, we'll look down on you for the privilege of selling it to us.

What passes for ethics in 2014.


30 June 2014 at 18:14  
Blogger Shadrach said...

You have it almost right with your kids. I am similar and in my efforts to help them with what we did not have, we fail to give them of what we did have.

30 June 2014 at 18:33  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Oh and btw Jack. In case you were wondering ...

As the EENS discussion progressed, it became more and more disorienting to me. As if I was telling someone that "Yes, Mrs Thatcher did crush the mine workers" only to be told "No she didn't." So I decided to check myself. I had a RC friend of mine read the thread to confirm what I was saying. He was satisfied with my arguments or at least as happy as a RC can be with a Protestant. At that point I decided I had better get some understanding of the nature of this intra-Catholic argument. So I stopped commenting and I started to read. It was a fascinating journey.

I truly did not understand the centrality of Vatican II in this debate, and of the RCCs difficulty in coming to terms with it. My friend described it as one side seeing Tradition thru the lens of Vatican II, and the other seeing Vatican,II thru the lens of Tradition. You know there is trouble when the church is still struggling to find a Hermeneutic of Continuity fifty years after the fact.

This is the first time I have commented anywhere on the internet since last Wednesday. I don't claim any deep knowledge but my perception of this argument gas been substantially altered. My position hasn't changed, but my understanding has. Next task is to borrow Roberto de Mattei's book on VII.

I don't want to deflect the thread. I just thought you should know what happened to me.


30 June 2014 at 18:47  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Uncle Brian@15:50

They need a divestment plan to demonstrate that they will dispose of the embarrassing investment within a reasonable time. They could sell in a series of tranches to reduce market risk. Mind you, they might be better off acting sooner rather than later. If Wonga gets prosecuted over the fake legal letters and their licence is under threat I would expect the share price to head south.

30 June 2014 at 19:04  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


I'm pleased you got back in touch as after the latter exchanges on the thread I was concerned. You're a tough old sod, so I needn't have been. I was even going to write to you through 'Crew Bear'.

Yes, the changes of Vatican II were complex and that's why its causing so much confusion in the Church. Some of the documents are ambiguous too. However, there is no greater mystery than God. I do like your friends presentation of it.

Roman Catholicism moves very, very slowly and its not unusual for these debates to take many decades and some times even centuries to resolve! Don't tell anyone, but Catholics still don't have a settled position on how "effectual grace" works.

These debates push us all and that's why they are so fruitful.

Thanks for getting in touch, Carl. Despite our differences, I count you as a valued blogging friend.

To think, I thought you might have enrolled on an RCIA course!


30 June 2014 at 19:19  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl - Archbishop Marchetto was Pope Benedict's favoured writer on Vatican II.

Two books especially spring to mind:

‘Pontifical primacy and the epicopacy: from the first millennium to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council’

'The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council'

30 June 2014 at 19:50  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


I am sorry to be always picking on you comment but....

"I think we are in danger of hypocrisy, and I will decline from pointing the finger!!"

My investments are not 100% pure.

But I never said they should be and I don't and wouldn't invest in wonga.

I judge them because they are a Church and there in lies the difference.

On the one had you have the church handing out food parcels and then you also have the same church investing in wonga and you won't point a finger

Well I will do it for you.

It is wrong and hypocritical plain and simple.


30 June 2014 at 19:58  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Is it asking too much for the church to concentrate on salvation of the souls of the poor rather than helping them with their feeble attempts at making their benefits last a couple of weeks.

Let them suffer an empty stomach on the odd occasion. Let their foolishness be manifested by physical hardship. It's character building - don't you know !

When the poor start starving to death in the UK, then let the Inspector know. Until then, he reserves his continuing contempt for our hapless tattooed fools...

By the way, if the CoE can make a few shillings out of investing in Wonga, then so be it. Though one would suggest that tobacco would be far less controversial...

30 June 2014 at 20:23  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

-Ebeneezer Something-or-other

30 June 2014 at 20:38  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 June 2014 at 20:48  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


My apologises for going off topic, but I've just returned home, from a lengthy business meeting,to read devastating news:

Hashem Yerachem.

30 June 2014 at 20:48  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Carl. The church is not exclusively for the poor. There are secular organisations that do their best to save these wretches from themselves. Only the church is concerned about the salvation of the soul, or it least it should be if it can find the time in between being a money lender.

One is appalled at the killing of the three teenagers. Perhaps the Christians who are so supportive of the evil muslim forces at work in that area of the world can explain what went wrong, as if we didn't know...

30 June 2014 at 21:52  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, in answer to your question perhaps you should ponder these comments of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

"The church, like Jesus, has to go on denouncing sin in our own day. It has to denounce the selfishness that is hidden in everyone's heart, the sin that dehumanises persons, destroys families, and turns money, possessions, profit, and power into the ultimate ends for which persons strive.

And, like everyone who has the smallest degree of foresight, the slightest capacity for analysis, the church has also to denounce what has rightly been called 'structural sin:' those social, economic, cultural, and political structures that effectively drive the majority of our people onto the margins of society.

When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises."

"Many would like a preaching so spiritualistic that it leaves sinners unbothered and does not term idolaters those who kneel before money and power. A preaching that says nothing of the sinful environment in which the gospel is reflected upon is not the gospel."

30 June 2014 at 22:31  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Jack. It's all a question of what platform you start from. Ideally, it should be one that emphasises the function of the church, to wit, the care of the soul.

It's not too much to ask, is it ?

As it stands, one has to ask, with the likes of Giles whatever around, is this the case, or do we have men of God who are over duly concerned with our mortal existence here.

It's all rather simple. Let the church do what it can within it's remit. Let the secular attend to the other. It's not as if the latter is under represented, now is it ?

30 June 2014 at 23:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, Jack agrees - up to a point.

The Church should not focus on social action at the expense of a spiritual mission. However, the Church, which is all of us who are members of Christ's Body, is called to express love of neighbour. This can win souls too! It's not one or the other; it's both.

And remember Our Lord's words:

Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat:
I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink.
I was a stranger and you took me not in:
naked and you covered me not: sick and in prison and you did not visit me.

Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

Words to reflect on, wouldn't you say? Jesus was quite a critic of unjust social, political and economic systems that impoverished the weak. Those who turned their backs on the needy, according to Jesus' words, were not possessed of His Spirit. He knew them not.

The Church - its the hierarchy, ministers and laity - has a responsibility to question and challenge the secular order and to represent the Gospel message - in word and deed.

1 July 2014 at 00:03  
Blogger Ivan said...

HJ, while I can sympathise with the conservative ways of the old days, I have to go slightly off topic and expand on what I see is the dastardly way in which the lenders have manipulated the situation. For many years now in the advanced countries, we've had a low interest regime of maybe 0 to 5%. The lenders have access to funds at essentially interest-free rates. And if they are connected to the City banks, perhaps even negative overnight rates. Yet do they share what is after all the largesse of the government with the stupid poor? Set them free perhaps? No, they'd rather farm them as captive addicts to be milked at leisure. This predatory behaviour is built in to their business plans. If ever a class of asinine poor were to find Jesus and learn temperance and thrift, one can be sure that they would leave plenty of unhappy lenders behind.

In any case I believe that in the advanced countries, we are in the situation foreseen in one of Phillip K Dick's stories, where there are no shortages, in fact a cornucopia of technological abundance, thanks to the tremendous productivity of modern processes, that has rendered many a working stiff like myself redundant. There may be nothing left for us to do except become lotus-eaters, which should be attainable even if not desirable, as long as a wary eye is kept on the rich and connected who seem determined to corner everything for themselves.

1 July 2014 at 03:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Thank you for those kind words. Friendship is what makes a weblog more than just its comments, and I am pleased to call you friend. I would have responded earlier, but the tornadoes and power outages, and an unscheduled ER visit - yeah, we've be kind of snake-bit medical wise this year - it was an interesting day.

Is this how one is supposed to celebrate his 30th anniversary?


1 July 2014 at 04:29  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...



1 July 2014 at 08:34  
Blogger Darter Noster said...


I'm not sure your description of the poor as stupid is really fair.

Many of those who use Wonga know that they are nothing but the worst kind of exploitative loan sharks, but when they are struggling to survive on inadequate wages, and something like an unexpected bill and the threat of court comes along, there is literally nowhere else they can go for the money, and so they have to gamble on being able to repay quickly.

Living like this, it is all to easy to fall into other traps such as gambling and alcohol, which both offer a possible way out by different routes. Then, when the person is at rock bottom, the business leaders and politicians who preside over a system of exploitation wages, and the great majority of whom come from middle and upper class backgrounds, have the brass neck to talk about the feckless poor.

They bleat about not wanting to distort the labour market by forcing employers to pay a living wage, but a labour market in which full-time work can earn you less than you need to live decently on is already shamefully distorted.

1 July 2014 at 10:11  
Blogger John Thomas said...

" borrowing from the future for present needs, with no prospect of ever redeeming their loans." (Ivan) - sounds a bit like the way we pay for the NHS and the rest of the Welfare State.

1 July 2014 at 11:33  
Blogger Len said...

The question I would like to ask(I do this hypothetically knowing there will be no definite answer)is where has all our money gone?.
I have been paying taxes and putting money into pension funds but apparently a lot of this money has' disappeared'(where to?)
The Banks lost billions (but where did it go to?) can money simply 'disappear' never to be seen again?.
I suppose money today is just simply 'virtual' numbers on computers which are transferred on the internet from person to person..'.Money 'so it seems only has any value if people have confidence in it..unlike gold or silver (which coins used to be made of )
Banks seem to have the ability to 'create money' I wonder how they do that and who gives them the ability to do that?.

Quite interested to hear any theories.

1 July 2014 at 12:03  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

@08:34 - naughty girl.

Carl, back on theme.

Happy Jack has just put a tenner on USA to win this evening during normal time. He tried an "each way" bet but was not allowed. Was this an unethical use of his money?


1 July 2014 at 12:06  
Blogger Ian Paul said...

Thanks. I have looked carefully at the reasons and use of Matt 13 at

1 July 2014 at 12:18  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Lucy /Rambling Steve

Given a £6.1bn investment fund managed by the Church Commissioners, and £100k investment in Wonga through a pooled fund, I make that 0.0016%.

Church Commissioners Report 2013

I'm never particularly keen on any storm that Giles Fraser whips up, whose tweet I find to be 10.294% impure in its 7-asterisked intention.

Go not with an angry man, lest ye become like him.

Would be good for them to be out of Wonga, but let's see Giles Fraser and a group of his friends support himself and his building with part time work, say tent-making. Until then, let's ease off a bit and try being constructive, shall we? Maybe he should try something self-supporting like church planting where there's more clarity on funding ... (oh no - he hates that)

1 July 2014 at 12:21  
Blogger Dionysius the Areopagite said...

Well said, Your Grace!

1 July 2014 at 12:25  
Blogger Len said...

Is it OK for Christians to gamble?.
Might be OK but I wouldn`t bet on it...

1 July 2014 at 12:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


You put £10 on the US to win? Did they give you points? Like say maybe 2.5?

There is sport and then there is money. The sport fan should not mix the two. It's hard to be objective. My head says the US will lose 2-0. But the heart still hopes. You don't want the prospect of financial gain fighting against loyalty. You don't want to lose the money either. Best not to bet.

There are professional gamblers who know what they are doing and can make a living at it. There is a vast hoard that doesn't know how to avoid losing money but will not lose enough to financially affect themselves. There is a small percentage that will be consumed and ruined. It's a pitiless industry that will strip the flesh from bone and leave the remainder to bleach in the desert - if it be permitted The promise of free money as entertainment masks the specter of a ruthless carnivore. It really offers nothing to the economy, and plays on the false hope of instant riches. I have never seen a more tangible metaphor for the snare and the trap that is sin.

I enjoy playing Craps. What I enjoy is the play. Not the amount won or lost but the winning and losing itself. Unfortunately, I don't want to risk more than about $20 in the process. That means a $1 minimum bet. Find one of those tables in this day and age.

And even so. Is it worth it to me to be entertained by such an industry knowing the consequences that attend to a few? I decided it wasn't. I haven't been in a casino to gamble since April 1993. I would never say it is wrong to put $10 on a game. But I wouldn't do it either.

Just me. Others will make different prudential decisions.



1 July 2014 at 13:33  
Blogger Ivan said...

Darter Noster , that was stupid of me.

John Thomas, the difference I suppose is that the state has a printing press to cover its debt and no one can throw it in jail

1 July 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


So I will break my own rule and respond this once. My wife went to the emergency room last night with tachycardia, low blood pressure, and a fever. She was immediately triaged into a treatment room. That doesn't happen too often in ERs in the US. Just so you know what you are mocking.

If there was any moral substance about you, I would be offended. Instead I shall simply let you reveal yourself by your behavior.


1 July 2014 at 13:59  
Blogger Shadrach said...

I am no financial wizard but from what I see, the banks make and lose billions from speculative financial deals.

The 2008 crash started in the US but it was about to happen here anyway.

My daughter was working at Lehman's at the time, (not a trader I might add) and a lot of their problems stemmed from the loans to Trailer Park mortgages at almost 100% of value. These were permitted by Clinton and the US Treasury by to help increase home ownership through companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Sounds good but investors money from individuals and institutions were used for these dodgy loans and of course salesmen were on a good commission and were lax in their checks on ability to pay.
Result, these loans were bundled with other good loans and passed off to other lenders as triple star rating. Eventually the whole thing just collapsed and Lehman were the fall guys.

So, if you study the history of financial crashes, starting with the Tulip crash in Amsterdam, it's all about investors being persuaded to part with ever and ever increasing sums over and above the eventual real value of the investment.

In the end as you can imagine, the only ones who benefited were those who sold the trailers, the salesmen who sold the mortgages and the banks who managed to dispose of the dodgy bundles of investments. Those who lost were both the sensible savers and the greedy investors who wanted to get on the band wagon.

One the more disreputable ways that traders work is in the in Short Selling. Somehow and I have never grasped this they make money when a stock goes down in value. Gordon Brown had to stop this practice in the 2008 crash.

1 July 2014 at 14:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Short selling.

Let's say you borrow 100 shares of stock priced at $10 a share. You sell the stock. You now have $1000 in your pocket and a debt of 100 shares. Eventually, you have to repay the debt in shares of stock. So you wait two weeks. The price per share drops to $5. You purchase 100 shares at a total cost of $500 and repay the loan. Profit to the house (minus interest and fees) is $500.

You are borrowing stock and selling it the expectation that its value will drop. Your financial focus is short term. The key is that you repay the debt of shares with shares valued at a lower price. There isn't a fixed financial value to the debt. It could go up or down as the share price moves.

I don't know what us disreputable about this. It provides a buyer for a seller who wants to move declining stock, and the buyer assumes the risk based upon his foresight.


1 July 2014 at 15:04  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...


"Assuredly the evil man will not go unpunished.
But the descendants of the righteous will be saved."

You have broken your own rule more than once. You are playing the same old tune Fritz.You're a joke (a bad one!)

1 July 2014 at 15:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 13:59

Sorry to hear about the medical issues. Hope things resolve themselves.

1 July 2014 at 16:10  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Thanks. It looked much more serious at 4pm then at 9 pm. Tests all negative. They gave her fluids and antibiotics and sent us home. Said it was dehydration and infection. But combined with everything else it made for a memorable day. I was really kind of laughing at myself by mentioning it.

When we were being discharged I mentioned matter of factly that it didn't look like I was going to get the life insurance after all. It had the desired effect, but she was too tired to retaliate. So the day wasn't a total loss.



1 July 2014 at 16:56  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I was kind of laughing myself, at your mentioning it as well, suspecting you were up to your old tricks again...Munchausen syndrome is no laughing matter. Consult a shrink Carl.

1 July 2014 at 17:23  
Blogger Galant said...

Cressida, while the comments on this blog can get heated at times, and a bit personal, Carl really shouldn't have to tolerate ad hominem attacks. You can believe or disbelieve him, but making fun of him is hardly called for, nor is it decent.

This obviously isn't my blog to moderate, and Carl's capable of defending himself, but the truth is he shouldn't have to.

This is blog to discuss ideas, maybe even those who hold those ideas, but insulting someone, accusing them of lying, especially concerning subject matter as sensitive and serious as the health of one's partner, has, as far as I see it, no place here.

1 July 2014 at 17:39  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Comments on this blog can be vicious obscene rascist and depraved. "Heated" as you euphemistically or dishonestly call them. I have been on the receiving end of some of them particularly by Carl yet I don't believe you have ever complained about other's comments apart from mine..I am responding to the usual character assassinations adhominem remarks bestowed on me by Carl.The truth is Carl should have to defend himself.He hurls enough boulders and perhaps you should give your codpiece a workout somewhere else.

1 July 2014 at 18:25  
Blogger Galant said...

I don't read every comment on here and if Carl has done the same then I'd condemn him equally.

I have seen the various Protestant/Catholic remarks, and commentary on how an individual has apparently behaved on this blog. It's an internet blog, so there'll certainly be some of that and comments are notorious for being able to tell who's doing it good humour and who isn't, although personally, for what appears to be a bunch of Chrisitans, I'd prefer a lot fewer insults.

Still, I see a significant difference between harsh comments directed at someone's behaviour while on the blog/their commentary, and making insults concerning personal matters, as in this case, where one does not and cannot have any real idea as to the veracity of what's going on.

The bottom line, of course, is that within the permit of our host one may behave as one pleases, however, I'd rather professing Christians behaved in a manner worthy of the name of Christ - whoever they may be.

1 July 2014 at 18:50  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

carl jacobs

I’m sorry to hear about this further bout of ill health in the Jacobs family. I trust that, whatever I was, Mrs J is now fully recovered.

In the run-up to the last two conclaves, I kept close watch on the odds at Paddy Power, with a view to picking a winner. On both occasions, however, I didn’t start off with a preferred runner to back. I was just keeping an eye on the field from day to day. In 2005 I was very sceptical about Ratzinger’s chances, despite the short odds on him, because at 78 I was quite convinced that the cardinals would decide he was too old. In 2013 I was almost positive it wouldn’t be Bergoglio, both because of his uncertain health (he has only one lung) and because there were serious allegations against him in connection with the arrest and torture of priests under the military regime. It is now known that those allegations were a fabrication, but here in Brazil we weren’t aware of that at the time. As it turned out, I’m glad I never actually got as far as placing a bet on either occasion.

1 July 2014 at 18:55  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

I trust that, whatever it was ... (typo)

1 July 2014 at 19:09  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Rasher Bacon

Thanks. Brilliant post which puts the whole shebang into perspective.


So for every £10,000 paid out in pension that is 16p dubiously earned. So if every church pensioner gives about 20p a year to a person who would fail the marshmallow test and a simple maths test appallingly that fixes Giles Fraser's massive moral dilemna, possibly 50p a year for the Bishops.

Yawn... move on!!

1 July 2014 at 19:46  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

No Lucy, it's the principle of it. It's just wrong.

1 July 2014 at 21:17  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...


My taxes fund abortion and many other things I consider wicked or at least stupid.

Should I refuse to pay them and be sent to prison?

I hate Wonga and I have quit the CofE over doctrinal issues (and crap hymns etc) butbregwrd thisxfiluss about what as has been pointe out is a tiny accidental bundled investment is a distraction. A fart in a hurricane

Giles Frazer. Isn't he that commie Nietzche student homoenthusiast fart for day presenter Guardian columnist who pretends to be a minister of the gospel? To borrow his apparent turn of phrase, WTF does it matter what he tweets?

1 July 2014 at 23:27  
Blogger Shadrach said...

The issue about Short Selling is that traders take advantage of a falling market and it tends to increase the pace of the collapse. Hence Gordon Brown stepped in and stopped Short Selling in a hope of minimising the crash. It's the poor savers that get caught up in the storm and lose more than they needed as a result of greedy traders.

1 July 2014 at 23:54  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Rambling Steve

Disregarding what Giles Fraser says, this is about the credibility of the organisation that represents God and Jesus on Earth. They are supposed to be setting us an example to follow.

The government, well we know they are a bunch of self serving, corrupt, weasels.
Taxes are different they are spent by governments that we don't always agree with on things we don't always want or think is right and we can campaign to get them to change or we can change them at the next election. The Church is different, but they've gone to hell, what with women Bishops and 'gay marriage' now profiting off the backs of the poor. There are plenty of 'pooled' funds, they can change to one that encompasses companies that are productive and ethical. You're allowed so many changes over an investment period but there will be a small fee for doing so.

2 July 2014 at 00:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, oh well; not to worry. It was a good game and exciting. Jack lost his ten pounds. He enjoys the very occasional flutter.

Whilst on the subject, the National Lottery is a disgrace. Why doesn't the Church condemn it? When at outlets, observe who spend their money on this atheist dream machine which funds so many ungodly activities.

Sorry to hear about all your troubles and hopefully the rest of the year will be less stressful for your family and you. Testing times when a loved one is unwell.

2 July 2014 at 00:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Anyways. I guess we have learned who knows something about soccer and who supports Manchester United. If you want some pointers, just ask.

Ya know, in truth this whole ER thing was supposed to light hearted. Something along the lines of "Yesterday was my 30th anniversary and I took my wife to the ER. Can I show a woman a good time or what?" But then someone involved herself in a disagreeable way. It irritated me enough to respond and you have no idea the height of that threshold. She has been on the "Do not acknowledge" list for over two years I think. I should have left her there.

Anyways, my wife is fine. But thanks for the concern.


2 July 2014 at 01:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack actually got that from your post and thought Cressida's had too and that her initial comment was made in humour, not as you understood it. Jack enjoys reading her comments and admires the fact she stands up for herself and others.

As for football - next season; next season.

2 July 2014 at 01:37  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


You should know better. Nothing Cressida says to me or about me is meant in jest. Why do you think she is on that list? She has never forgotten how I intervened against her effort to drive Hannah off this board. She never will.


2 July 2014 at 01:54  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Marie, Happy Jack agrees with you.

As Jesus taught:

"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities."

2 July 2014 at 01:58  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 July 2014 at 02:18  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, as Jack recalls that whole 'Hannah-gate' episode was particularly fraught and hurtful comments were made from all sides. It's best forgotten. Besides, without taking

A lesson Jack learned from old Blowers - when in doubt reading a comment always put the most positive interpretation on it and the motives of the commenter and respond accordingly.

2 July 2014 at 02:23  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

What list? The predestination to hell list? (Giggles)

.Poor Carl has so little control he has already admitted publically hatred towards Catholics and their ways. I wonder why God made him a tin pot soldier when he could have made him a hairdresser . I can envisage him wielding the shears to the Ride of the Valkyries in his salon.

2 July 2014 at 03:09  
Blogger Ivan said...

Short sellers who do not have the fungibles are speculators who drive down the market to overshoot the stops. Then it cascades, as everybody wants out. These include those who cannot meet the margin calls, and those whose who have to cough up more surety. Its a damned silly game, of herding off a stampede and picking off the losers near the river when the wildebeest catch their breath.

This pig is gussed up in rational markets terms as the 'price discovery' function of the markets. The deep chin-pullers and eyebrow furrowers - the market regulators - as usual are hoisted by their own petards, as they are happy to allow margin buying of stocks, bonds and currencies when the markets are on the rise. Since the principle of trading on things one does not already own, is allegedly scientific (rather than customary), it should objectively be symmetrical on both the buy and sell sides of the market. Science itself demands that the regulators watch the markets crash and burn, as the markets randomly tumble to an equilibrium.

When Mahathir bin Mohammed our crazy uncle in the North (from Singapore) realised how the game was rigged against the Asian currencies in 1997-98, he simply pulled the plug.

2 July 2014 at 04:12  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Short sellers are no more and no less speculative than long sellers. They borrow stock for a fee from those who expect the share value to stay stable or increase. The lender knows exactly what the borrower is doing. There is no treachery here.

Short sellers:

1. Provide liquidity so that if you want to sell your shares, someone is available to purchase them.

2. Act to regulate the value of over-priced companies. When a company's stock value gets too high, short sellers act to bring the price back down to its market value.

3. Help properly allocate scare capital resources to those firms most deserving. They drive down the share price for any subsequent stock offerings.

4. Punish the incompetent management that is responsible for the company being over-valued.

What people don't like is:

A. How come he is making money when I am not?

B. Efficient allocation of capital creates distinct sets of winners and losers. People who work for marginal firms are afraid of market forces that might render them unemployed - especially when the reallocated capital heads to Central America.

The stock market isn't supposed to go up and up and up. It's supposed to reflect the market value if a company and that value must be allowed to float.


2 July 2014 at 05:06  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Uncle Brian

Betting on a Papal election? People do that sort of thing? I trust the Cardinals are not allowed to place bets lest they find themselves in a conflict of interest.


2 July 2014 at 06:07  
Blogger Ivan said...

Carl, certainly it would depend upon how much one wants to lose. If the game involves the loss of life and any prospect of future redemption, hardly any one would play. If the markets truly punishes losers (though it did punish those who took its nostrums seriously), and the regulators see to it that the villians receive their desserts, then why are so many left unpunished. In every American scandal cycle that I can remember, the S&L scandals, Enron etc, some textbook villians were carted off. How many are behind bars for what transpired in 2007/2008. From where I sit, I see that the villians have gotten very good at the game and have figured out that the best way to avoid prosecution is to own the government.

I mean, (for example) is it really the case that nobody in the firms, understood that derivatives, whose mathematics are supposedly difficult, are toxic. That the assumptions on which they built were so fragile, that they were liable to explode in the face? Since I am now of a paranoid frame of mind, I would say instead that the very opacity of the mathematics, enabled the operators to pose as poor quizzical bounders, only doing a very complicated and necessary job. The whole thing was a sham.

2 July 2014 at 06:40  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Marie, I would not consciusly buy shares in gambling or unjust loan companies. I agree its unethical and the CofE should disinvest if it is practical to do so.

My undestanding from listening to Justin Wellby's excellent responsr to a grilling on the subjecy wad that the Wonga shares were a tiny pary of a huge portfolio, had been purchased inadvertently and could not be divested without significant colateral losses.

I stand to be corrected on the above facts, but it seems to me that the Cof E is being treated somewhat unfairly over this tiny investment.

If the investigative financial journalists have time on their hands I would be much more interested in knowing where Islamic Relief's funds go.

2 July 2014 at 06:57  
Blogger William Lewis said...

The whole thing was a sham.

The biggest sham was not the complexity of the debt instruments being sold, nor even the dodgy assumptions being deployed in the valuation models, but the fact that the credit ratings agencies, that were effectively controlled by the banks, were being used to rate (overvalue) the products that the banks themselves were selling. That was clearly a regulatory failure.

Gordon Brown needed to stop short selling because the market was correcting itself and though the Government was happy to reap the rewards of laissez-faire money markets on the up-side, it could not afford to consequences of the down-side (too big to fail) and so had to halt the decline whilst it fleeced the tax-payers to pay for the market correction. This moral hazard was the main market failure. Blaming the short-sellers for 2008 is akin to shooting the messenger.

2 July 2014 at 08:13  
Blogger Jay Bee said...


The Archbishop should have made sure that the CofE had no exposure to Wonga before launching the Credit Union idea. It has become something of an Achilles heel.

I do wonder if switching a pooled investment is as fraught as they are making out. Its easy to switch ISA funds for example. However the kind of instruments the mega investors use are probably a lot more complex.

I'm sure your suspicions about Islamic investments are right on the money.

2 July 2014 at 08:49  
Blogger Ivan said...

William, I have to agree that the credit rating agencies were manipulated. The messengers though were not John the Baptist figures crying in the wilderness. They were in on the game from day one.

2 July 2014 at 10:05  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Carl

If short sellers only did what you said then the situation would be tolerable, but the facts are unfortunately that they act in packs and run "short and distort" campaigns.

Some have even been known to set up bogus one-man research companies just to diss one share.

As throwing around insults is unfortunately easier than being constructive this can destroy small companies.

There is a notorious case where a company went private after one individual bought all the remaining stock but before its stock was removed off the market the share price plunged dramatically because the price rise as all remaining shares were swept up attracted automatic traders who knew nothing about the company shares but just thought there was a buck to be grabbed.

This situation is fake and intolerable, and companies have little redress against having complete fabrications swirling around the internet from what are really criminal gangs at work.

I will not short, not even JB sports, though there is a certain temptation there, because you are willing and wishing failure upon a company, and I think that is incompatible with Christianity, though arguably ok if the outfit is really evil!!

2 July 2014 at 10:27  
Blogger William Lewis said...


You seem to be conflating short selling with market manipulators who use short selling as part of their manipulation. If a drunk driver knocked someone down would you blame the car or the driver?

There is nothing inherently wrong with short selling. Indeed a speculator like you should welcome it as a useful mechanism to help determine the true worth of a company.

2 July 2014 at 11:19  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ William

I am not a speculator!! Merely an occasional small time inve3stor who works on fundamentals and is always long.

But I have realised what a large % market manipulators make up and the dishonesty which has become a cultural norm and hardly even noticed as such in the investing world.

The dishonesty in short selling is that you "borrow" other people's shares without their awareness. This seems to me a fundamentally and unavoidably dishonest thing to do. As you do so you artificially inflate the number of shares in a company, so market cap is now divided by more shares so each share- the fake and the real added together- are now apparently worth less. Then your nest aim is to buy back the shares at a lesser price and hand them back to the original owner now worth less than before due to your actions.

If I did this with solid goods it would be clear to everyone that this is stealing, morally speaking, therefore breaking one of the ten commandments, therefore incompatible with Christian belief. I fail to see the difference when done with shares, really. So I do not and will not ever do it.

2 July 2014 at 11:45  
Blogger William Lewis said...


"The dishonesty in short selling is that you "borrow" other people's shares without their awareness."

Stock market operators should be aware of the factors that affect market prices, including short selling, or else they have no business buying and selling shares.

"This seems to me a fundamentally and unavoidably dishonest thing to do"

They are lending out shares which they are legally allowed to do and thereby generating revenue by maximising the return on the assets that they hold.

"As you do so you artificially inflate the number of shares in a company, so market cap is now divided by more shares so each share- the fake and the real added together- are now apparently worth less."

But they have to buy some other shares back, so there is no net increase in the number of shares over all. And they are providing liquidity so that you can put on your long positions at a price that is more likely to make you a profit - assuming that you have got your fundamentals right.

"Then your nest aim is to buy back the shares at a lesser price..."

Yes that's the aim. It's called buy low, sell high. It's exactly what you are trying to do.

"...and hand them back to the original owner now worth less than before due to your actions."

Assuming that the borrower was right and the owner was wrong. And anyway the owner may be looking at a completely different time horizon - they are not obliged to sell the shares as soon as the borrower hands them back!

"If I did this with solid goods it would be clear to everyone that this is stealing, morally speaking,"

If you asked me to look after your lawnmower for an indeterminate time and I said that I would probably be hiring it out, but would make sure that you received a lawnmower of equivalent type, specification and market value (allowing for age) as soon as you asked for it back, would you say that I was stealing, morally speaking?

2 July 2014 at 14:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Cressida, you must understand that Americans do not share our mischievous European sense of humour. The written word so does convey non-verbal communication nor transcend cultural barriers.

Jack should correct one point. Carl did not express hatred of Catholics. He expressed hatred of the Roman Catholic 'system' because he regards it as evil and as an offence against God. He is wrong, of course. When he discovers more about it he may see the error of his ways. Credit where it is due. He is at least attempting to develop a greater appreciation of it, unlike some Jack could name who deliberately misrepresent it.

2 July 2014 at 15:25  
Blogger IanCad said...

Happy Jack wrote:

"----Americans do not share our mischievous European sense of humour."

I have to disagree with you there Jack.
In my experience, I have to say that the American sense of humour is far better than ours.
Immigrants and all that.

2 July 2014 at 18:04  
Blogger Len said...

Catholicism is a false religious system of that there can be no doubt by anyone with common sense and a Bible to be able to discern truth from error..

In fact the more you know about Catholicism the more corrupt 'a system' it proves to be...So the claim that people' just don`t understand Catholicism' is merely a smokescreen to cover all their errors..The RCC version of Christianity doesn``t appear in the bible at all!..
But Catholics don`t feel too bad about your religious system because the' little daughters' of Catholicism are catching up rapidly and the same spirit is infecting them...
The only solution is the one God offers us which is salvation through Christ alone....

2 July 2014 at 18:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, Happy Jack engages with Carl's criticisms because he reads and he thinks before commenting. He also respects the person and their intelligence, even while countering their views.

Jack pays attention to Carl. You he ignores. You are akin to an annoying flea. You offer a cartoon critique based on ignorance and untruths.

2 July 2014 at 18:40  
Blogger Sister Julian said...

Calm down children! At this rate there will certainly be tears before bedtime. As my Auntie Lil used to say 'if you can't say something nice about someone,then don't say anything at all' A difference of opinion is one thing, and I can certainly be as intolerant as the next person, but what has been going on here has gone far beyond that. How sad to see C of E/R C antagonism still rearing its ugly head. My definition of a fellow Christian is someone who can believe the words of the Creeds and in the virgin birth and bodily resurrection. Anything else is nothing like as important. As scripture says: "see how these Christians love one another". I understand we have people of other and no faith posting here, but let's behave like God's people, disagreeing with one another in love.

2 July 2014 at 19:25  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Sister Julian, you are a relative newcomer and this particular dynamic has been going on for years!

Happy Jack agrees with Pope Francis when just this weekend he said:

"There is no 'do it yourself' in the Church, no 'free agents'. How many times did Pope Benedict describe the Church as an ecclesial 'us'! Sometimes one can hear people say, 'I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, but I do not care for the Church . . . 'How many times have we heard that? And that is no good.

"Some think they can have a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ outside of the communion and the mediation of the Church. Such temptations are dangerous and harmful. They are, in the words of the great Pope Paul VI, absurd dichotomies."

"Indeed, walking together is challenging, and can sometimes be laborious. Some brother or sister might cause a problem, or a scandal . . . But the Lord entrusted his message of salvation to humans, to all of us, to witnesses. It is through our brothers and our sisters, with their gifts and their limits, that he comes to us and makes himself known. This is what it means to belong to the Church.

"Let us ask for the grace of never falling into the temptation of thinking we can do without others, without the Church, and save ourselves on our own.

"We cannot love God without loving our brothers and sisters; we cannot love God outside of the Church; we cannot be in communion with God without being in the Church; and we cannot be good Christians if we are not with all those who seek to follow the Lord Jesus, as one people, one body. And this is the Church."

Len disagrees with all "religion" and believes in a "do it yourself" approach to Christianity and being a "free agent".

Fine, that's his right, but Jack will not tolerate bare faced lies about his faith. Where would any Catholic disagree about this:

"The only solution is the one God offers us which is salvation through Christ alone...."

The Church is the Body of Christ. What he actually means is his own DIY efforts - alone.

2 July 2014 at 19:56  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Sister Julian

I agree with your sentiments. Unfortunately the man behind Happy Jack has been spamming us with Catholic doctrines, sayings and incantations, like the ones above, for many a year now. It's a cross we have to bear apparently.

2 July 2014 at 22:04  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

William, how very unkind of you! Come now - "spamming"???

Jack believes a good number of Christians will find Pope Francis' words worthy of consideration as his ecumenical approach is attracting attention.

As for "incantations", what on earth do you mean? Happy Jack thinks you'll find he has not posted any such things. And are quotes by Catholic now denominationally tainted in some way???

As for Jack's presentation of Catholic doctrine, he tries to keep this within the context of erudite debate and discussion on relevant topics. He also tries to correct any misrepresentation.

Here's a rather good quote:

"Peace begins with a smile. Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

3 July 2014 at 00:36  
Blogger William Lewis said...


That speech by the Pope was referenced a couple of threads ago and you made exactly the same point about exactly the same person. Tell me, if Len and others believe the RCC to be fundamentally in error then why do you think repeatedly quoting the Pope will change their minds? It clearly won't thus the accusation of spamming. The Pope's more inclusive approach is of more interest to Catholics and non-Christians than Protestants I think.

"Peace begins with a smile. Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

Peace begins with Christ. Quoting iconic, dead Catholics on Anglican blogs ain't going to change that, though it may seem more true if you repeat it.

3 July 2014 at 08:55  
Blogger Len said...

Did the disciples 'cosy up' to the Pharisees?.
Certainly not ..
So why should Christians do the same with those who promotes the false religious system which is the RCC?
H J I don`t really care what you or Carl think of me..What I do care about is Gods Word and truth.

3 July 2014 at 09:11  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Len,what concerns me about you is the hatred of Catholicism. I expect it of Carl and like you don't care what he thinks. Jack's respect for Carl in reality can be just put down to a love of football.Nothing else.If Carl were truly intelligent he could not be a Calvinist.Jean Calvin was deranged.He was not a man of holiness.

You know, nothing is achieved by the intense negativity or hatred you bear Catholicism
You don't really listen to explanations when they are given to you. I read your reasons for still embracing Christianity. Yours you say was a mystical calling not an intellectual experience. Mine was intellectual .If you examine the other religions; Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and political movemements such as cultural marxism and communism one can only come to the conclusion that Christianity is the only successful and just way to live here on earth.Even if one did not believe Jesus was the Redeemer one would still have to conclude that Christian values are the best way to live.
You say you were Christianized
by your family upbringing Maybe these anti Catholic sentiments were expressed by them as part of your upbringing by your family and shaped your thinking. I know that Protestants as a rule are raised to be contemptuous of Catholics from a young age.And I also hope you might be the one Protestant on here not to deny it.
When the African Anglican Bishop of York said his initial Catholic upbringing was to hate Protestants. I was truly shocked. It could be true in Africa. I hope he would not lie.But all I know is that this is a big tabou in the Catholicism in which I was raised. Hating anyone is just not on.

3 July 2014 at 10:18  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ william

The lawnmower analogy doesn't work, because the shorter borrows your shares without your knowledge, theus creating a fake number of extra shares. So say there are 10% going short on a share; the "number" of shares is now 110% and the market cap. spread out over that renders the shares worth seemingly less, though in actual fact of course once shorting goes back to nil they are all worth the same. This is very unfair on both the person who wishes to exit the market to pay for a new conservatory, or car, or whatever, and a small company which needs to raise cash, for whom the share price being down can be very costly indeed, and which can make them dilute existing shareholders more than necessary.

Shareholding should not be akin to a casino, however mush the lower more base impulses of humanity might enjoy that. I have been told by Christian people that I should short, as I could make more money. However I think it would do bad things to my soul and bad things to my demeanour as well as being wrong. I think investors should be supporting a company, and wishing for the success of their enterprise not booing from the sidelines.

Shorting is also of course very dangerous. A stock guru apparently lost a massive amount with a very large short on Mothercare, which then had t/o rumours and instead of going from 140p to 0p as advised went to 258p instead. For some whom he had previously annoyed it was a time to rub said man's nose in it by buying mothercare shares and goods. Now in the abstract that is funny, when s.o says "I am going out to buy 4 prams and several baby wardrobes worth!" and encourages others to do likewise, but it is all concerning real people so not really, however annoying said person might or might not be! Such is that world; shark eat shark; small boys' games. Not a particularly conducive environment for becoming closer to Christ I think and wiser to reserve a place on the sidelines.

3 July 2014 at 11:45  
Blogger Len said...

Cressida, I know Catholics and some are quite likeable people but they are deceived by the Catholic 'religious system'. I know there are other denominations which are equally as bad but they do not appear on this blog(well not often)
I do not hate anyone...well some of my neighbours are a pain in the *rse but seriously I do not hate anyone...but I hate religious systems which pretend to offer salvation but all they offer is bondage to' a system.'. .Cressida if you have studied Catholicism you must know that many of their teachings do not appear in the Word of God?. In fact many Catholic teachings oppose and override the Word of God.
So the bottom line is I do not hate people but 'systems' but while we are on the subject of 'hate' I am regularly attacked by the Inspector(who I do not bother to answer anymore)I have been called a 'liar' by the not always Happy Jack,so please keep a balanced view of what is occurring?.

3 July 2014 at 11:52  
Blogger Len said...

Cressida I was not raised to hate Catholics.
This may occur in places like Ireland where this sort of thing happened.
But to me there was no division between Catholics and Protestants.

I see the Protestant Church sliding into apostasy and it grieves me that the Reformation is dying and the light it brought into the Church is flickering and will [apparently] soon go out.The Reformation brought an end to the Dark Age which is coming back..

The Church is at a crossroads and the ecumenical multi faith Church is being created by those who never knew God and are more interested in their own power prestige and position.
There are two types of people who oppose God
1,Atheists who deny God and look to' reason' and 'science' to replace him.

2, Christians who follow' religion'. This surprises many people. When a religious system is devised (such as a sacramental system)man has deposed God and made' a pathway' 'a staircase of works' to salvation which actually negates the Saviour.

3 July 2014 at 12:10  
Blogger Len said...

The latest heresy in the Protestant church is' the Word faith 'movement who in extreme cases believe that the have become 'little gods' and can do as God does.

So the temptation offered ages ago by Satan is still working for him which is" you can become as God"(like God or actually God!)

The Pope claims to be' God on Earth'.

Atheists claim that man does not need God and can do as God does.

The 'new agers' claim that they actually are Gods.

(I think I might have gone a little off thread here apologies Your Grace)

3 July 2014 at 12:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"The Pope claims to be' God on Earth'."

No, Len he doesn't - as you well know. All the tired old 'references' you trot out in support of this lie have been shown to be false.

Do stop these untruths.

"When a religious system is devised (such as a sacramental system)man has deposed God and made' a pathway' 'a staircase of works' to salvation which actually negates the Saviour."

Again, this is a gross distortion of the Church's teaching. Fine, disagree, but at least attempt to understand what you are criticising.

Just for the record, Catholics (and Anglo-Catholics as well as Lutherans) believe the Sacraments are a channel of God's grace - not empty rituals that regardless of an authentic relationship with Christ work some form of magic on their own.

3 July 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger Sister Julian said...

Thank you HJ. I think I quite like you!
How can we fight 'against the world, the flesh and the devil' if we are so busy fighting amongst ourselves! A house divided against itself will perish.
I certainly don't take the sacraments and think that they are some stairway to salvation. The sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Benediction (which I atend at my local Anglo-Catholic church) draw me closer to to God, remind me that He is always with me, and strengthen me on my journey. They are not some sort of celestial tick boxes. My salvation comes from Christ alone and through no works of mine.

3 July 2014 at 14:10  
Blogger William Lewis said...


I am reluctant to extend this discussion as it clearly is a side-thread, but as we are still wandering the Blogger wilderness and yet to set our eyes on the Discus promised land, I will respond to a few points.

"The lawnmower analogy doesn't work, because the shorter borrows your shares without your knowledge, thus creating a fake number of extra shares."

I think the chances are that you don't actually own the shares but have an agreement with an institution to pay you the dividends and difference between your buys and sells. If the instituion owns the shares then they clearly have the right to lend them out. If they don't actually own the shares and are holding them for you then I would be very surprised if they do not have an agreement allowing them to lend out the shares.

"So say there are 10% going short on a share; the "number" of shares is now 110% and the market cap. spread out over that renders the shares worth seemingly less, though in actual fact of course once shorting goes back to nil they are all worth the same."

The intrinsic value of the shares does NOT decrease with shorting. If a dividend were paid by the company then all those who borrowed the shares have to reimburse the lender the equivalent amount, which would then be passed on to you.

"...However I think it would do bad things to my soul and bad things to my demeanour as well as being wrong."

It's not intrinsically wrong, your soul and demeanour not withstanding.

"I think investors should be supporting a company, and wishing for the success of their enterprise not booing from the sidelines."

That may be great for the managers and shareholders, but it is better that a company's share price accurately reflects its actual value because this leads to optimal allocation of resources. That means shares going down as well as up. Or to put it another way. If a company is not doing well then it is better overall that shareholders sell their holdings and invest in another company that is doing better. Shorting increases liquidity and so helps to enable this kind of switching.

"Shorting is also of course very dangerous..."

Caveat Emptor. It's not as dangerous as being the vicar of Baghdad though.

"...A stock guru apparently lost a massive amount with a very large short"

Sounds like he had it coming then.

"...Not a particularly conducive environment for becoming closer to Christ I think and wiser to reserve a place on the sidelines"

I hadn't realised that you were investing as a means of getting closer to Christ. :)


Market manipulation is the problem - not shorting.

3 July 2014 at 14:37  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ william

I think we are more in line with the main theme, which might be considered as being ethical investment than the Catholic Protestant wars!! Or perhaps intermittent prolonged skirmishes is a more accurate description.

I do have a problem with the whole ethic of shorting, because I am only willing to derive income from successful business in moral spheres, which I think is roughly similar to what the C of E commissioners try to do. I am aware how hard it is to keep track of each fraction of a % if you invest in a fund and that it is ethical so I have a great deal of sympathy with the Commissioners on this one. I think there are many in the markets who don't care at all so long as it makes money, and that the Commissioners therefore are already the very pure ones within the whole spectrum, which I believe has large pockets of deeply corrupt smoke and mirrors within it. I find it odd to pick on the very pure for not being absolutely pure while the real fraudsters go unnoticed and uncriticised.

It would be nice to hear people like Giles Fraser give their opinions on the fact that there are 100 pieces of paper entitling people to own an ounce of gold for every ounce of gold. Where is the morality in that giant ponzi scheme? But somehow I know we never will. It would be good to hear him denounce the boiler room scamsters and those who hunt the share boards in packs and sometimes gang up to bring down small companies who then have to fundraise in disastrously dilutive ways on the back of a battered share price so that they can profit on their shorts. Somehow I know we won't hear about these horrors, as they are too busy straining out the nice reachable gnats in places where the criticised won't be too unpleasant in return.

I agree that the main problem is market manipulation, but I think shorting encourages that manipulation massively, and that it can bring down some small companies who could and should prosper to the benefit of many.

3 July 2014 at 15:40  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Cressida writes that Protestants are raised to be contemptuous of Catholics from a very young age.

I wouldn't know about that because I was raised as a Catholic and taught a pack of lies about Protestants, the Reformation and what the Bible teaches from an early age.

3 July 2014 at 18:48  
Blogger Len said...

H J @ 3 July 2014 13:45 you either do not know much about Catholicism or you are being deliberately obtuse?.

Question... does the Pope claim to 'be God'
Lets ask the Popes.

Pope Nicholas I declared that “the appellation of God had been confirmed by Constantine on the Pope, who being God, cannot be judged by man.” (Labb IX Dist.: 96 Can 7 Satis Evidentur Decret Gratian Primer Para)

The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in Heaven and earth."
Pope Pius V, quoted in Barclay, Chapter XXVII, p. 218, "Cities Petrus Bertanous".

Writers on the Canon Law say, "The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in heaven and earth."
Barclay Cap. XXVII, p. 218. Cities Petrus Bertrandus, Pius V. - Cardinal Cusa supports his statement.

The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, he is Jesus Christ himself, hidden under the veil of flesh."
Catholic National July 1895

(H J what part about the Pope 'claiming to be God' do you not understand?.(Also it is not very honourable to accuse me of 'untruths' when what I am illustrating to you is quite plainly true to all but a member of the RCC)

The first to claim to desire to be 'as God' equal with God/another God was Satan
The claim to be 'as God 'is prevalent amongst' new ager`s' Popes and other religious sects...

3 July 2014 at 19:36  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, we've covered all those quotes repeatedly on here. For example, that last one is fraudulent and this has been pointed out.

Why are you doing Satan's work?

3 July 2014 at 19:44  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Do read this before publishing further untruths and distortions.

3 July 2014 at 19:53  
Blogger IanCad said...

Interesting that, unless I'm mistaken, CS Lewis is up on the banner of your link Happy Jack along with Cardinal Newman and a lady that I can't identify.

Now surely you're not seriously suggesting that Len is doing Satan's work when he is merely pointing out historical truths?

Perhaps we Protestants should take a more critical look at CS Lewis.

3 July 2014 at 20:08  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

William Lewis

You are a misery! And what was ironic about a smile spreading peace?

How will you bring the peace of Christ into the lives of others? By reading the Bible at them?

Here's a couple of other quotes to think about:

“Profound joy of the heart is like a magnet that indicates the path of life.”

“One filled with joy preaches without preaching.”

3 July 2014 at 20:12  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

IanCad, Happy Jack guesses you didn't read the link. If you had, you will know why he said Len was lying and doing Satan's work.

"Perhaps we Protestants should take a more critical look at CS Lewis."

What a peculiar comment. His face appears on a Catholic site and suddenly your denominational antennae start twitching.

If you know anything about Lewis, you'll know some of his later writings contained themes reflective of Roman Catholic theology. However, these views were also held by Anglican high church Anglo-Catholics.

He believed in Hell and purgatory.


Does this fact disturb you? Does it devalue his contribution to Christianity?

3 July 2014 at 20:27  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Len. And Jack.

I love both you guys, but you do go on......OK so do I, but.....

The Pope doesn't claim to be God, only His representative on earth. 'The Vicar of Christ' vicar = vicarious=in place of.

As an ex Catholic, I yield to nobody in my rejection of the errors of Rome, but misrepresentation based on prejudice and misunderstanding only make out adversary smile. Lets disagree over the right issues.

The secularist enemies of the Gospel are watching, so for Christ's sake, and theirs, and ours, can we try to avoid stereotyped prods versus papists punch ups? Within reason.

The BMJ has just come out in favour of assisted suicide, the liberal left elite continue to doenplsy the threat of global jihad, the sttiving class young face such crippling debt they can't afford to have children etc etc.

Aren't there more rewarding issues to discuss?


3 July 2014 at 20:39  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

IanCad we should indeed look at C S Lewis' work critically. He asked us to.

3 July 2014 at 20:41  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

The greatness of C S Lewis is seen in that when he was editing 'Mere Christianity' which although flawed and dated is still a classic rational defence of the Faith, he sent the proofs to an Anglican, a Roman Catholic and a Methodist minister for criticism. To which he listened respectfully.

Perhaps it is partly because he was such a humble man with a sense of his own sins and weaknesses that he is still loved today across such a wide range of Christendom.

Dawkins, Toynbee and Pullman all hate his guts-what better recommendation could you have!

But Lewis never, ever claimed to have got it all right. But he knew a Man who did, and pointed to Him.

3 July 2014 at 20:51  
Blogger IanCad said...

RSA No, don't get me wrong, I wasn't knocking him; just questioning why an RC defence website would have him at the top.

If, indeed, it is actually him.

HG did confirm that he was a great advocate of two of the fundamental dogmas of Rome.
And, I confess that I have only fully read Screwtape and various bits and pieces of his work.

I also saw Shadowlands for what that's worth.
Grown men should not cry.

3 July 2014 at 21:28  
Blogger William Lewis said...


I said iconic.

3 July 2014 at 21:46  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

William Lewis, so you did; apologies. Happy Jack must wear his reading glasses!

IanCad, the "Screwtape Letters" is one of the books Jack was referring to that is suggestive of Catholic doctrine.

Btw, the picture of the woman is
Thérèse de Lisieux. If William L will forgive me, she once wrote:

“A word or a smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul.”

3 July 2014 at 22:50  
Blogger Rev Daniel French said...

Would it not be possible to protest by clergy withdrawing any additional pension contributions and putting them elsewhere? Perhaps also someone should start an online petition?

4 July 2014 at 07:35  
Blogger Len said...

Rambling steve,

The title "Vicar of Christ" means "a substitute for Christ" or "another Christ."

"For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.(Matthew 24:5)

If one cannot see this?.

4 July 2014 at 10:50  
Blogger Len said...

The last battle on planet earth will be for' truth'. The waters have been severely' muddied' regarding 'truth' "what is truth?" said Pilate when Truth stood before him.We are now told that there is no absolute truth and that truth is relative ...also "that is true for you."..
Everyone claims to have THE truth.
Atheists claim that' science and reason' has revealed 'truth' to them.
False religion have their prophets who have had their 'truth' revealed to them by bright shining angels..
Cults have sprung up under the revelation of their prophets who have handed this 'truth' down to their disciples.
Now the RCC claims to have captured this' truth' and dispenses it to their followers after this 'truth' has been filtered through their religious system no one else is allowed to hear this truth direct from source as they 'might get 'the wrong'[not to the RCC`s liking] interpretation'.

God`s Word is Truth and Jesus promised an interpreter to all those who desire this truth,
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.(John 13:16)

4 July 2014 at 11:12  
Blogger Len said...

Rambling Steve; You seem to think this identity thing between the Pope and Christ is of no importance but let me illustrate how 'identity theft' works...
Supposing I said I was another 'Rambling Steve Appleseed' and I had full authority to act in his name.
And I then started to change your posts saying I had full authority to so so.I then created posts in your name..
How would you feel about that?.

4 July 2014 at 11:44  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"The title "Vicar of Christ" means "a substitute for Christ" or "another Christ.""

Another untruth and its been pointed out before - repeatedly.

The actual way to look at is if Rambling Steve knew he was going on a long leave of absence and didn't know when he would return. What would he do with his orchard? Leave it to fall into disrepair?

Surely he would choose someone to represent him and run his affairs and give him the authority to do so. This representative, or deputy, the actual meaning of 'Vicar', would manage his affairs - would metaphorically "hold the keys" and make decisions on his behalf. Of course, he'd have written and verbal instructions to follow and, in this day and age, there'd be email contact.

4 July 2014 at 17:11  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"identity theft"


4 July 2014 at 17:13  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

To be fair, I've always found Rambling Steve to be one of the Christians worth reading on this blog.

4 July 2014 at 19:11  
Blogger Len said...

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be left on Earth until He came back not some corrupt line of dissolute fornicating liars...'Popes' in other words..

5 July 2014 at 11:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, whatever nasty comment you want to make about the behaviour of individual Popes, the point is this was a lie:

"The title "Vicar of Christ" means "a substitute for Christ" or "another Christ."

5 July 2014 at 21:51  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...


If you read my post it leaves no doubt that I reject the errors of Rome. This includes the papacy and much else. I just think these interminable prods versus papist arguments spoil the threads here.

You know I am a creationist. That doesn't mean I have to turn every thread into a discussion about creation versus evolution. Said it already and its on my web site accessible via my profile.

I believe God is at work in the church of Rome. You see, He is Sovereign.

Kind regards.

6 July 2014 at 06:05  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...


As it happens, one of the key events in the time line of my spiritual awakening was being read chapters from The Screwtape Letters by an English and RE teacher at the Edmund Campion Catholic school for boys in Essex circa 1972.

Lewis was an Anglican of traditional theological persuasion who had Catholic leanings but believed in the necessity of conversion and the New Birth. Yes he did believe in some kind of purgatory and took a viewbof sacraments and ordination that was closer to Rome than to Geneva.

I don't want to become a C S Lewis bore on this blog but think its worth mentioning that 50 years after his death he is loved by a very wide range of Christians from Calvinist to Catholics and we can learn a lot from him about judging ourselves first and thinking the best of 'our separated brethren'.

I shall now shut up about prod vs papist ping pong and in the absence of our host raising specific issues wish others would too.

6 July 2014 at 06:24  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Agreed, it is tiresome Steve but Jack finds it difficult to stay mute in the face of brazen untruths about his faith.

Unlike your good self, Jack received a "warts and all" education on the Catholic Church - its history and the nature of the theological issues between it and the Reformers. He also went through a period when he abandoned the Church altogether but, thankfully, God waited patiently for Jack to come home having taught him a few hard lessons on the way.

C S Lewis was a great writer and Jack is glad you enjoyed your week learning about him.

And you never bore!

6 July 2014 at 13:21  

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