Admiral of Morality: One small fish, one giant lesson for mankind

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One small fish, one giant lesson for mankind

The Age sits down for lunch with Bishop Walkabout of Melbourne, illustrating once more why he's popular around these parts:

"That was some fluke yesterday. Just as Mr Diary set off for a long-arranged gluttony-free lunch with the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, a new batch of mortal sins were trumpeted from Rome. The original seven deadlies apparently were no longer enough and seven extra nasties, such as pollution, obscene riches, drugs and social injustice, were now on the charge sheet too.

Fortunately, none covered our midday repast and, anyhow, Anglicans were not necessarily included. "We don't seem to have the codification of things as much as the Catholic Church does," Dr Freier said. "But I suppose the seven deadly sins have been worked over pretty hard down the years."

Of course, Dr Freier was first to nail one new sin: he got stuck into obscene wealth last June, rating it the modern-day citizen's "greatest moral blindness".

Said His Grace at the table yesterday: "You do encounter people who are less stuck on the grasping and the grabbing. It is possible to live with wealth and the responsibilities that come with it. But we've seen a different attitude since the 1980s and the West Australian mining boom, where people took to conspicuous wealth. People will spend $70 million on a yacht and they are probably so busy they don't have time to use it. Some of it doesn't make sense."

We didn't like to tell Dr Freier that yachts have long since gone past that mark: Greg Norman's yacht Aussie Rules sold last year for $77 million.

"Wealth is one of the things Jesus speaks most about," says His Grace.

No coincidence that the addled antics of the ridiculously rich seem to occupy a disproportionate amount of this page.

Frugality note: Dr Freier had a humble barramundi with nothing on the side."

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