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Thursday, December 25, 1997 Published at 11:01 GMT


Carey preaches humble message
image: [ The Archbishop of Canterbury: his sermon contained references to Samuel Beckett and Mother Teresa ]
The Archbishop of Canterbury: his sermon contained references to Samuel Beckett and Mother Teresa

In his Christmas sermon the spiritual head of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, has called on the Church to remember its humble roots to help bring about a more caring society.

Dr Carey drew on the story of how Jesus was born in a stable to make the point that religion is not the preserve of the rich and powerful, but also Britain's underclass.

"Here is God coming to us not with trumpets, not with the splendour of royal courts nor the trimmings of power - but in weakness," said the Archbishop in his Christmas Day address at Canterbury Cathedral.

He said that God was not "absent from the poor, the broken-hearted, the refugee and the homeless.

"Not absent from the single mother, the person living on the breadline and the unemployed teenager. But with them as with all of us."

Inspirational faith

Dr Carey also gave examples of reaffirming faith - the courage of the late Mother Teresa, a Ugandan Bishop whose wife had been killed by a landmine and an Aids sufferer from New York who was facing death "with cheerfulness" after finding God.

The Archbishop described the Aids sufferer's religion as "the kind of faith that humbles you when you meet it and leaves you questioning your own faithfulness".

In his sermon, Dr Carey also cited Samuel Beckett's bleak play 'Waiting for Godot' and asked: "Has life got any point to it? Is everything so random, so pointless, so utterly amoral that when your time comes - phut! That's it."

He went on to answer his own question by saying: "God is here already. In all the difficulties and joys of life.

"In the midst of the devastation, horror and misery as well as of renewal, celebration and hope, we find this tiny child waiting for us to respond to him. And it is that belief which can provide the strongest foundation for a caring Church and a caring society."

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