By John Bingham, Telegraph
BRITAIN must not respond to economic hardship at home by turning “inward” and cutting aid to those in far greater need, the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted.
In his first Christmas sermon since being thrust into the spotlight as successor to Rowan Williams, the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, warned against national self-pity and selfishness, becoming obsessed with “our own small battles”.
And in a possible signal of the direction he is likely to take the Church of England in when he takes over as Archbishop, he placed poverty at the centre of his Christmas message urging Christians to “reach to the jagged edges of our society”.
He earlier contrasted the fast and efficient response to flooding at home with a desire to cut aid for people in poorer countries.
And he spoke about the “paranoia of the ultra-rich” who liken calls to pay higher taxes to the threat from totalitarianism.
Bishop Welby, who formally takes over as Archbishop in February, told the congregation in Durham Cathedral that it is “very easy to be despondent” about the Church – with its divisions over issues such as women bishops – and the wider world, citing the massacres in Congo and Syria and the mass shooting in Connecticut.
Meanwhile, he said, Britain remains in the “doldrums” while trust in once respected institutions has been battered by scandals involving Parliament, the police and the media.