Letter: Religion of work

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Cardinal Hume and the Bishop of Liverpool may well be right about overworking at Christmas ("Churchmen attack work on holidays", 2 January). If they are, it is not just Christmas that is the problem; it is a society where work is the new religion. Work has become too dominating in our lives both because of what it means to us and because of what it demands of us.

The irony, from my point of view, is that the church requires its employees to work unsociable hours which the clergy accept as part of our vocation. However, many of the clergy I know overwork, and not just at Christmas, to the detriment of themselves, their family life and their ministry. If we in the church really believe working patterns can be destructive, there is no place like home to begin the now needed revolution in our society to put and enjoy work in its place.

It is well enough for senior clergy to stand up and seek to steer society in the right direction but perhaps their words would be more telling, to the clergy at least, if the same message were being addressed to the church as employer as well.


Leatherhead, Surrey