Bishop says moral decline has hit 'epidemic' levels

Right Reverend Richard Chartres laments rise of 'promiscuity, separation and divorce'

The Bishop of London has hit out at promiscuity, abortion and divorce reaching "epidemic" levels. The Right Reverend Richard Chartres, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops, admitted that Britain was a vastly better place "in so many ways" compared to the 1950s but he added that society had become "more strained, more fragile".

Much of the bishop's concern revolved around his perception that Britain has undergone a moral decline over the past six decades.

"Literally millions of children grow up without knowing a stable, loving, secure family life – and that is not to count the hundreds of thousands more who don't even make it out of the womb each year," he said, in a pointed reference to abortion.

"Promiscuity, separation and divorce have reached epidemic proportions in our society. Perhaps, then, we shouldn't be surprised that depression and the prescription of anti-depressants has reached a similarly epidemic level."

The bishop's comments were made in a pamphlet published by the Bible Society. Bishop Chartres, the third most senior cleric in the Church of England, is known to be firm friends with the Prince of Wales and is generally perceived to be within the church's conservative Anglo-Catholic wing.

He said the Biblical meaning of the word jubilee was a reminder of the need to take the "long view" and to take into account the environment for future generations. It should also mean an end to the "crippling debt economy" and a move to living within our means, he added.

Dr Chartres also called for action to tackle "depressingly high" youth unemployment in Britain.

"The extent of youth unemployment is appalling. The waste of human talent is unsustainable morally and economically," he said. We should not simply look to government for a solution, he said, but look to our communities for role models and mentors to encourage, challenge and enthuse those who are in danger of losing hope.

The bishop's remarks will chime with many conservative elements within the church at a time of evangelical protests against abortion clinics. But official data suggests that divorce and abortion rates in Britain have been declining over recent years. With the exception of last year, which saw a 4.9 per cent rise in divorce, the number of married couples separating has been in decline for the past seven years.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee