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Tuesday, 25 December, 2001, 14:32 GMT
Archbishop calls for justice
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey
Dr George Carey compared Christ's birth to Ground Zero
The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his Christmas sermon to call for a stronger commitment to justice and tolerance in the wake of September's terrorist attacks.

Dr George Carey told a congregation at Canterbury Cathedral that some good things had already emerged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center in New York.

But he warned that it would be a mistake to rely on emotion or collective grief to protect a civilised society.

The sermon has come at the end of a year which he said had reminded people that the world could be dangerous and unstable, and that shocking things could happen to innocent people.

These clouds (of smoke) have dispersed, but for many they have left a greater darkness

Dr George Carey Archbishop of Canterbury

Dr Carey quoted St John's account of the birth of Christ as a shining light which the darkness of the world had been unable to put out.

But he said St John's words were also troubling, suggesting there were times when darkness came close to overwhelming all else.

Dr Carey recalled the aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center in an area now known as Ground Zero.

Despair

He said: "Friends who were caught up in the devastation of the twin towers describe how vast clouds of smoke and dust billowed towards them, suddenly engulfing them in a choking, blinding darkness.

"These clouds have dispersed, but for many they have left a greater darkness, which no lighthouse beam has graciously penetrated."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, at Canterbury Cathedral
Dr Carey quoted WB Yeats
Dr Carey said the birth of Christ in Bethlehem had also been a kind of ground zero.

But it had spread waves of new hope and life over centuries, rather than the destruction and despair that radiated from New York in a matter of seconds.

Dr Carey quoted WB Yeats' poem The Second Coming, which he said served as a warning not to take a civilised society for granted.

He called for more passionate commitment to shared values, such as the equality, justice and tolerance rooted in Christianity.

And he said only through strong support for such values would a better world be built.

See also:

06 Nov 01 | Middle East
Archbishop's visit illustrates divide
04 Nov 01 | Middle East
Archbishop demands freedom of worship
03 Nov 01 | Middle East
Archbishop 'backs' Afghan campaign
24 Dec 01 | Education
Carey backs faith school 'inclusion'
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