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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 December, 2004, 12:53 GMT
Archbishop asks rich to help poor
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Dr Williams visited Canterbury jail before giving his Christmas sermon
A secure world will only be realised if the rich share their wealth, justice and liberty with poorer nations, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

Dr Rowan Williams used his Christmas sermon to accuse some countries of concentrating on terrorism and failing to reach their own development goals.

He stressed the importance of halving world poverty by 2015.

Earlier on Christmas day Dr Williams visited Canterbury prison where he gave a service for inmates.

Dr Williams told the congregation at Canterbury cathedral that some developed nations "appear deeply indifferent" to the United Nations' development goals.

We are not going to be living in the truth if we have no passion for the liberty of God's children
Dr Rowan Williams

He listed several international projects aimed at helping poorer nations, but said the goal of halving world poverty by 2015 has not moved on in the past four years.

"Despite the vision of some in the political world and beyond, the will to take this forward seems to be in short supply," he said.

He added: "It is all too easy to be more interested in other matters - not least the profound anxieties about security that are at the moment so pervasive."

Unpromising situations

The archbishop said it was not a mistake to be concerned about terrorism.

But he warned against fear being society's "only agenda".

He said rich countries need to make justice their priority and accept that their wealth cannot expand indefinitely.

"We are not going to be living in the truth if we have no passion for the liberty of God's children, no share in the generosity of God," he added.

Other senior church figures echoed Dr Williams' concerns.

In his last Christmas sermon before he retires, the Archbishop of York said justice and peace must be pursued together.

Dr David Hope highlighted the need for this approach in unpromising situations like Iraq and the Holy Land.



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