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."
- 1 Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
- 2 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 3 Head transplant: man will be attached to new body in under an hour and aim is immortality, doctor says
- 4 Anti-vaccination group defends advert comparing immunising children to rape
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Auschwitz museum warns that visitors could be turned away due to huge spike in interest
Head transplant: man will be attached to new body in under an hour and aim is immortality, doctor says
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Katie Hopkins' migrant 'cockroaches' column resembles pro-genocide propaganda, says the UN
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst...