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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 September 2007, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Monarch faith role 'should stay'
Dr Rowan Williams
Dr Williams rejected any change in the King's function
Prince Charles should not become defender of all faiths rather than just Christianity when he becomes King, the Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted.

Dr Rowan Williams also said his coronation should be a Christian rather than a multi-faith service.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Telegraph he described Britain as a "broken society" and said urgent action was needed by the government.

He also called for the abortion law to be tightened in the UK.

The archbishop forthrightly rejected any change for Prince Charles in the function adopted by his ancestor Henry VIII as defender of the Christian faith when he becomes titular head of the Church of England.

The Prince of Wales first expressed a wish to become "Defender of Faith" rather than "Defender of the Faith" in an interview in 1994.

Moral issues

Dr Williams also said the coronation would be a service of Holy Communion during which the monarch would be anointed.

He added: "The acts of worship that we perform have their integrity. I don't want to see amateurish messing around compromising what's going on."

Dr Williams said the Church of England would take a more high profile stand on moral issues than it had done in the past few years.

Describing Britain as a "broken society" he said action was needed by the government and the Church to restore a sense of moral integrity.

Calling for the abortion law to be tightened, he said: "People are not happy about abortion as a back stop to contraception."

Children live crowded lives, we're not making their lives easy by pressurising them
Dr Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury

He added: "It's not like having a tooth out."

He also said he was pleased Prime Minister Gordon Brown had reversed Tony Blair's plan for supercasinos and had introduced plans to review the 24 hour drinking laws.

Dr Williams also discussed the war in Iraq saying it had made it easier for extremists to attract new recruits.

He said: "It has shored up this huge victim identity among Muslims, the sense that all over the world there are places that we are being attacked. An unscrupulous or fanatical preacher can very easily present this as a single picture."

'Fundamentalist and savage'

The Archbishop was also outspoken on the way he said middle class parents were damaging their children by forcing them to take on extra-curricular activities and putting them under pressure to achieve.

He said: "Children live crowded lives, we're not making their lives easy by pressurising them, whether it's the claustrophobia of gang culture or the claustrophobia of intense achievement in middle class areas."

Dr Evan Harris, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, condemned the Archbishop's comments.

The secularist MP said preserving the role of the monarch as defender of only one faith was narrow-minded and bigoted.

He said: "When Rowan Williams defends the role of the monarch of Defender of the Faith, he is not defending religious freedom in general, but instead trying to cling on to vestiges of an intolerant, anti-Catholic, Protestant fundamentalist and rather savage era of British history."


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