The news that the proposed takeover of BskyB by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation had led to concerns about competition did not come as a surprise. What was a surprise however was that the takeover is now being opposed by the Church of England.
The increasing influence of News Corporation may or may not be a bad thing, but it did seem odd that the CoE felt it should have a view on mergers and acquisitions in the media industry, unless of course they believe that the power of News Corp is bad for men's souls
The intervention of the CoE comes shortly after two other incursions by churchmen into realms probably best left to others, one completely unofficial and the other less so.
Last week the little known Bishop of Willesden, Peter Broadbent, found himself in trouble after saying on his Facebook page that he expected the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton to last only seven years before ending in failure.
He has also in the past expressed his opposition to the "corrupt and sexist" monarchy, which is odd considering he represents the only church in Britain of which the monarch is the head. If he is that much opposed to it one wonders why he didn't become a clergyman in any of the many churches that do not have Elizabeth II as their head.
More seriously the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, a few weeks ago appeared to take a stand against the "cuts" being introduced by the coalition government (i.e. the cutting of the increase in public spending) as it could send people into a "downward spiral" of despair and depression.
This all seems to be part of a strange trend where clergymen want to talk politics, rather than stick to their original calling, which is presumably the care of people's souls.
If people do find themselves in a "downward spiral" of depression because of the cuts then that is exactly where churches and charitable organisations can shine and help make things better for those going through hard times.
For example during the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008 it was reported that the "Floating Church" located at Canary Wharf saw its numbers spike as distressed bankers and traders sought solace at a time when they were in their own "downward spiral".
Perhaps a similar phenomenon will occur as public sector job losses mount over the next few years. If it does would the Archbishop welcome this renewed interest in matters spiritual, or does he hold the somewhat Marxist view that it is the job of the government (via public spending) to give people happiness and fulfilment and that his own church is a kind of backstop if this fails?
Sometimes of course it is necessary for religious leaders to get involved in politics, simply because they are the only ones able to stand against oppressive regimes. The example of the German bishops in the Third Reich who spoke out against forced euthanasia of the disabled and the Holocaust is one such case.
Generally however it's better for religious leaders to stay clear of political controversy. One of the charges that the Chinese government makes against the Dalai Lama is that if he is a spiritual leader, why does he keep talking about politics and why does he keep working for the restoration of a regime in Tibet that he conveniently would be the head of?
An interesting point, even if it does come from the Chinese government. A western equivalent might be the Pope campaigning for the restoration of the Papal States, which are now under the domain of a certain Mr Berlusconi.
The wider point however is that when spiritual leaders get involved in temporal affairs it can seriously undermine their credentials. The Chinese can accuse the Dalai Lama of being interested in restoring his own kingdom and now some conservative minded people in Britain might suspect that the CoE has become, to coin a phrase, the Labour Party at prayer.
Better by far to allow our politicians (such as they are) to get on with the business of politics and our regulators to decide which mergers and acquisitions are in the public interest. Meanwhile the good bishop can deal with the care of his flock and the doctrinal issues of the day.