Gordon Brown’s recent audition with the Pope teased my febrile brain.
Was it just something one does as a UK Prime Minister visiting Rome? His predecessor Tony Blair had done something similar but he then went on to embrace Catholicism, so had Teflon Tony set a precedent?
Who knows, in his hour of darkness our resolute Scottish Presbyterian might be seeking a wider church, or am I getting confused by his Big Tent concept?
Anyhow the power of prayer couldn’t be any less effective than his current strategy of borrowing his way out of debt which, as many a failed sub-prime mortgage borrower knows, is fine until the music stops.
In a sense it might be nice to think that like the fallen bankers appearing before the Treasury Select Committee hearing he was having his mei culpa moment.
A Times cartoon of the PM in a confessional with the Pope captured that moment brilliantly with a simple caption – Forgive me Holy Father for I know not what I was doing!”
On the other hand he might have asked the Holy Father to pray for all the pensioners who would shortly be coming off their fixed rate savings products and be facing destitution, or the 40,000 or so homebuyers who were made homeless last year and the 75,000 or so who face the same fate in the course of 2009.
He might have also asked the Pope to say a Mass for all the people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own in banking, building, manufacturing and in our high street shops but I suspect that in thinking this I would be wrong.
If at all, he would have asked the Pope to pray for his success in saving the world and the UK economy, not out of any sense of selfishness but simply because, as with Blair and regime change in Iraq, this would be the most expedient way of fulfilling God’s will.
Of course their would be a sliver of self-interest and perhaps even egotism in this and that thought is prompted by another item of intelligence from the Catholic Church, notably a study of sins by sex as revealed in the confessional.
Apparently men admit to difference sins then women, so that lust ranks top of male deadly sins while for women it is pride.
In second place men are predisposed to gluttony and women envy. For men envy falls sixth in the rank of sins while women are slightly more avaricious. For them its sixth in their list of failings while for men it is ranked seventh.
But just suppose you could conduct a similar survey for bankers and politicians? Where would you place the respective groups on avarice, lust and envy? I bet it would be a hard call. As for Brown, I don’t think he’d fall into any of those categories.
His sin would be pride and the price he must be paying for that hubris is probably bigger than the national debt.