BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Archbishop takes swipe at abortion laws
Dr Rowan Williams
The archbishop is known for being outspoken
The subject of abortion and the rights of the unborn child are the lastest controversial issues on which the new Archbishop of Canterbury gives his opinions, in the latest extract of his serialised book.

Dr Rowan Williams speaks of being "puzzled" by politicians who oppose abortion, yet see nothing wrong in using and selling arms.

He said the UK and US Governments had displayed a "bizarre confusion" over the abortion issue.

The archbishop's comments are made in the second extract from his re-issued book Lost Icons, published in The Times.

'Moral problem'

Dr Williams wrote: "I am genuinely puzzled by political parties, governments or churches that appear to find a greater moral problem in abortion than in the manufacture, marketing and use of indiscriminate weaponry, from cluster bombs and poison gas to nuclear warheads."

The Swansea-born archbishop said it had now become "far easier and more fashionable" to defend the environment and the welfare of animals than that of "unborn humans".

This illustrated the "bizarre confusion" over abortion within British and American society, he wrote.


Any Christian, pastor or priest is going to ask awkward questions in certain circumstances

Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

The 52-year-old churchman was unveiled as the 104th leader of the Anglican Church on Tuesday.

Comments from his book sparked a row almost immediately with his criticism of Disney, saying it aided the consumer exploitation of children.

Collision course

Disney hit back, saying it was proud of its achievements worldwide.

In the past Dr Williams, the former Bishop of Monmouth, has spoken out on gay rights, women priests and the role of the Government in various guises.

He has already proved critical of New Labour with criticism of the bombing of Afghanistan and condemning school league tables.

It seems he could be on a collision course for disagreement with the government over possible military action in Iraq.

Dr Williams' post will see him head an Anglican family covering 70m worshippers worldwide.

He said on Wednesday: "Any Christian, pastor or priest is going to ask awkward questions in certain circumstances.


It is still something of a shock to find myself here

Dr Rowan Williams

"I would only support military action which the United Nations had called as far as Iraq is concerned."

Mr Blair's official spokesman would only say it was the "right and prerogative" of senior churchmen to comment on a range of issues.

The archbishop has also been linked with calls for a review of the close association between the state and the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Williams is the first Welshman to be appointed Primate of All England.

Speaking in his first press conference since the appointment, at Church House in London, Dr Williams said: "It is still something of a shock to find myself here, coming to terms with an enormous trust placed in my hands and with the inevitable sense of inadequacy that goes with that."


Latest stories

Analysis and reaction

Background

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT

FORUM

Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

24 Jul 02 | Wales
13 Jul 02 | Politics
20 Jan 02 | Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes