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Sunday, 23 April, 2000, 19:33 GMT 20:33 UK
Bishop condemns dot.com values
Archbishop Carey and the Most Rev Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Archbishop Carey (r) and Catholic leader the Most Rev Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
The Archbishop of Canterbury denounced the material trappings of the "dot.com society" in favour of true Christian values in his Easter Day sermon.

Dr George Carey's Canterbury Cathedral message focussed on the relevance of core Christian beliefs in an increasingly technological world.

The new Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Most Rev Cormac Murphy-O'Connor also gave his first Easter sermon as leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

He too talked of the "temptations and distractions" of a business society.



"Power, success, fame and money are transitory, paltry things when compared to ultimate things of the Spirit

Archbishop of Canterbury
Money, power, success and fame, said Dr Carey, were only "transitory, paltry things" associated with our "dot.com society" when compared to "ultimate things of the Spirit".

'Icon of Christianity'

In a world where brands and logos were used to communicate far-reaching messages, he urged people to turn to the most powerful symbol of all - the "icon of Christianity".

"Business leaders know how important the 'logo' is because, before a word is said, the image has already uttered its message," said Dr Carey.

The message of Christianity and the Easter faith, he said, was rooted in the love of God.

If people allowed themselves to be seduced by more material things, Dr Carey said society would "mistake the temporal for the real world and suffer terribly as a result".

Reinforcing the Easter image of the Christian cross he believed it was "a universal sign, still potent and relevant in its appeal".

'Africa fatigue'

Dr Carey raised concerns that 'Africa fatigue' was beginning to affect everyone, after all the disasters in Mozambique, Sudan, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

"All too easily, in the face of such overwhelming suffering, we can shrug our shoulders and turn away from the pain," he said.

He referred to the famine in Ethiopia, saying: "A picture of a young boy being supported by his mother, bore an astonishing similarity with the emaciated Christ. It reminded me that the Cross calls on us to protest for humankind."

The Church had a duty to protect the poor and the weak and not abandon them, said the Archbishop.

While the Cross stood as a strong and powerful symbol across the world, it was also a reminder of weakness, he added.

He described it as "a huge field of energy, [which] is able to give life, inspiration and renewed hope".

Easter, he said, was a time for people to renew their faith, remember the resurrection of Christ and look to the future.

Silence and prayer

In his first sermon as leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales since the death of Cardinal Basil Hume, the Most Rev Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said Easter was a time for faith, silence and prayer.

Speaking to the congregation at Westminster Cathedral he said: "Somehow, in the midst of the world in which all of you live - with all its temptations and distractions - you have to defend the citadel of your heart."

He stressed that the world can be an enemy of Christian hope, but that people should try to focus on heavenly thoughts.

While some voices in the world tell them to acquire all the earthly goods that they can, the Rev urged Christians to remember the teachings of St Paul.

"He tells us that our thoughts should be on heavenly things. This is the inner vision which we must defend at all costs to safeguard the one thing that is necessary and that is the final 'why' of life," he said.

In an increasingly secular and "unreligious" world, the Archbishop of Westminster told Christians that they should not be afraid.

Asylum warning

Earlier, in a television interview, the archbishop urged politicians to avoid using the issue of asylum seekers as a political football.

He told GMTV's Sunday Programme: "I know there are many people who are seeking asylum who have come from very tragic circumstances, and I would like to think that this is a country that can open its doors a little bit to them, but I do appreciate that it can only be done within certain limits."

He added: "It is something that should be cross-party, that all three parties should concur with and not try to make political points."

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23 Apr 00 | UK
Bishops focus on faith
26 Dec 99 | UK
Carey's tabloid message
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