Archbishop attacks the age of greed in Easter message


Last updated at 23:29 23 March 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury railed against 21st century greed yesterday in his Easter message.

Dr Rowan Williams said the constant "grabbing of things of the world", such as oil, power and land, was the mark of an inner deadness.

The start of his sermon had been delayed by two men who stood at the pulpit waving anti-Sharia law placards.

After their arrest police said they were objecting to Dr Williams's recent comments regarding the adoption of Sharia law in Britain.

The archbishop told worshippers at Canterbury Cathedral that "the comforts and luxuries" which people take for granted today could not be sustained forever.

"Individuals live in anxious and acquisitive ways, seizing what they can to provide a security that is bound to dissolve, because they are going to die," he said.

"Societies or nations do the same. Whether it is the individual grabbing the things of this world...or the greed of societies that assume there will always be enough to meet their desires - enough oil, enough power, enough territory - the same fantasy is at work.

"We shan't really die. We as individuals can't contemplate an end to our acquiring, and we as a culture can't imagine that this civilisation, like all others, will collapse and that what we take for granted about our luxuries simply can't be sustained indefinitely.

"To all this, the Church says, sombrely, don't be deceived: night must fall."

Kent police later said the two protesters, one aged 56 and one 26, were from South Yorkshire. They had been arrested under Section two of the 1860 Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act, which says it is an offence to disrupt a cathedral service.

The men were released on bail until April 4. A second senior church figure, the Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, used his own Easter message yesterday to condemn high-earning City traders and company directors who "make a quick buck".

He said: "The turmoil in the markets is almost certainly the result of amoral forces. Those with power need to ensure that the poor are not disproportionately affected.

"What is required is a change of heart, of disposition, of attitude. From possessiveness we need to move to gratitude for what we have.

"When that happens, hedge fund managers and directors of companies can indeed go into the kingdom of heaven ahead of the chief priests and elders."

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