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0120110613Giles Fraser tells the story of how Christians came to have such mixed feelings about a subject we all obsess about: money.
Giles is the Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral.
As well as being responsible for the Cathedral's money, his job is to reach out to the people who work in the City of London.
St Paul's is located deep within the boiler room of global capitalism.
Within just a few hundred yards of the cathedral are located most of the world's most important financial institutions.
Billions and billions of pounds, dollars and yen are traded near hear every day.
So how does the church make sense of all this financial activity? Jesus told his followers to give up all their possessions, yet the church itself is heavily involved in financial investment.
Could this be why the church didn't seem to have much to say during the recent financial crisis?
In this first programme, Giles investigates the teachings of Jesus and the early church about the value of poverty.
He talks to church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, and visits an austere Franciscan Friary in Dorset where the monks have a real commitment to poverty.
Giles, very sceptical himself, challenges Brother Sam, the head of the Franciscans, and asks: why shouldn't Christians make money?
Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.
Giles investigates the teachings of Jesus and the early church about the value of poverty.
02 LAST20110620Giles Fraser tells the story of how Christians came to have such mixed feelings about a subject we all obsess about: money.
Giles is the Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral.
As well as being responsible for the Cathedral's money, his job is to reach out to the people who work in the City of London.
But with Jesus' instructions to give up all worldly goods, what can Giles say to people earning millions of pounds a year? At what point does profit become immoral? And what can the Church of England as a whole say to the financial community, when itself has hundreds of millions of pounds on the stock market? Is that why the Church went rather quiet during the credit crunch?
In this second programme Giles uncovers how, over the centuries, the church changed its mind about money.
From it's origins as a religion based on ideals of poverty, the medieval church grew to be the richest institution Europe had known.
But at the heart of the church's changing attitude to money is the Reformation, which whilst starting as a rebellion against the riches of the medieval church, relaxed laws on usury and opened the way for today's capitalism.
Giles talks to historian Niall Ferguson and to Lord Griffiths, Vice President of Goldman Sachs and a committed Christian, to explore how the Reformation paved the way for our attitudes to money today.
Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.
Giles Fraser explores church history to find out if money really is the root of all evil.

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