"Families are by far the most important seedbed of strong moral values which nourish us in our wider lives ... Family love is not about stifling growth. It is not about stamping our stereotypes on our children or being negative or repressive," said Dr Carey, two of whose four children have divorced.
"There are few deprivations as severe as the absence of a loving family," he said.
"There is no source of pain and psychological damage more disastrous than a family which goes sour and ends in abuse, rejection and hatred." He argued that Britain is a far more Christian society than statistics would suggest. "There are some six-and-a half-million church members in the UK. I believe New Labour is pleased to have reached 350,000. If, by analogy with church attendance, we looked at the number of people who regularly go to political party meetings, what a tiny group we should find!
"I do not believe it is anomalous that Christianity is built into our key national symbols and institutions, nor that so many people mind deeply about what the churches say and do," Dr Carey said.
"The danger comes when ... people become indifferent to the very idea of shared values at all. We are not at that point. But we have seen enough of the precipice to start moving determinedly in the other direction."
Dr Carey warned against the "false gods" of "social competitiveness" that might lead to an abandonment of the underclass: "None of us, whatever our political affiliation, can be sanguine about the widening gap between rich and poor."Reuse content