Williams attacks exclusion of RE in his final Easter sermon
Outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury and Catholic leaders take on highly charged political subjects
Religious leaders seemed to compete with each other yesterday over who could deliver the most politically charged Easter sermon as they continued to promote debate about the role of faith in public life.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, used his last Easter message before his retirement this year to attack what he called the downgrading of religious education.
The man being touted as his successor, Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, publicly baptised people on the steps of York Minister in what has become something of an annual tradition in the city under his leadership.
Senior Catholics delivered similarly political homilies, with one calling on Christians to wear crucifixes, and another using a media interview to restate the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage.
In an Easter message last week, David Cameron welcomed what he described as a renewed willingness by faith communities to engage in a "fightback". But his speech concerned secularists and gay rights groups who fear the Prime Minister may backtrack on a commitment to support gay marriage.
Dr Williams, speaking at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday, criticised the Government for not including religious education as a subject counting towards the English baccalaureate, an alternative to A-levels which is being offered by more and more schools.
The leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, urged his followers to "proudly" wear a cross to display their faith.
His counterpart in England and Wales, Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, gave an interview to Sky News in which he attacked plans to make civil marriage available to gay men and women.
Keith Porteous Wood, of the National Secular Society, said last night: "The churches are in revivalist mode and are stopping at nothing to stem their haemhorraging support and boost their power.
"To do so they are inventing persecution, threatening the Government, rewriting history and even persecuting an oppressed minority – gay people."
WHAT THEY SAID: EASTER MESSAGES
Archbishop Rowan Williams: "There is plenty to suggest that younger people, while still statistically deeply unlikely to be churchgoers, don't have the hostility to faith that one might expect, but at least share some ... sense that there is something here to take seriously."
Cardinal Keith O'Brien: "I hope that increasing numbers of Christians adopt the practice of wearing a cross in a simple and discreet way as a symbol of their beliefs. A simple lapel cross pin costs around £1 . Since this is less than a chocolate Easter egg I hope many people will consider giving some as a gifts and wearing them with pride."
Archbishop Vincent Nichols: "We have legal protection for the shape of marriage that has served society very well ... for centuries and, quite frankly, we really don't see why it's important to change that."
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
Negotiable: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are currently recru...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN English Teacher required to sta...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education has been asked e...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: English Teacher needed for a Januar...