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Sunday, 15 April, 2001, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Archbishop offers Easter comfort
Dr George Carey
Dr Carey: Easter can be a source of comfort
The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on those suffering from recent floods and the foot-and-mouth outbreak to take comfort in the Easter message.

Speaking at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday, Dr George Carey said recent calamities should not be taken as divine retribution.

"Some have talked of our recent trials and tribulations as the 'judgment of God'," he said.

"I resist that notion. For me, they challenge us to understand more deeply not God's judgment, but his love and what that offers us. And there is no better time to ponder that than at Easter."

Packed congregation

The Archbishop told the packed congregation of two men who had been deeply affected by recent crises.

Cormac Murphy O'Connor
Cormac Murphy O'Connor wants young people to resist the 'tide of unbelief'

One was a livestock farmer who had lost his entire herd; the other a retired Yorkshireman whose home had been flooded several times.

Both, the archbishop said, were too distraught to put into words the sense of their loss.

"The drama of Easter speaks into this all too familiar feeling of crises out of control," he added.

Dr Carey's sermon was a very personal one, directed at those who are feeling overwhelmed by difficulties.

Foundation stone

This foundation stone of the church, he argued, is powerful enough to provide hope to anyone who feels alone, or that no one cares about them.

The archbishop also asked people to get away from the outward signs of Easter, such as eggs, bunnies and bonnets, and instead concentrate on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope
Dr David Hope spoke of man's 'fragility, frailty and finiteness'

The Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, also echoed Dr Carey's words when he expressed sympathy for local farmers.

Speaking in York Minster, he said recent calamities, including the flooding which hit the town and the foot-and-mouth crisis which has affected local farmers, were reminders of humanity's "fragility, frailty and finiteness".

Dr Hope said Christ's resurrection gave him confidence for the future.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster urged youngsters to shun a culture that "dampens faith", in his Easter message.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor criticised contemporary society in his sermon at Westminster Cathedral.

"We live in a world that dampens faith and can quickly diminish the joy and newness of the good news of Jesus Christ, a culture that seeks to sway you from the search for goodness," he said.

Appealing to young people to "swim against the tide of unbelief", he urged them to "build a better and more human world where we try to live as true brothers and sisters".

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23 Apr 00 | UK
Bishops focus on faith
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