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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 16:41 GMT
Archbishop turns down Big Brother
Bishop Sentamu
Dr Sentamu said he was concerned with the cult of celebrity
The Archbishop of York has turned down an offer to appear on reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother.

Dr John Sentamu's spokesman Arun Arora said he took a call from the show's producers in October.

He said Dr Sentamu was often invited to appear on television. "We don't do celebrity," said Mr Arora.

The archbishop had previously turned down invitations to appear on panel shows such as Have I Got News For You, he said.

'No hesitation'

Mr Arora said: "He has a good track record of constructive engagement with the wider media, but where the message stops being about Jesus and starts being about him then he has no hesitation in saying 'no'.

"Given that being a celebrity has topped a list of what children under 10 believe to be the 'very best thing in the world' in a survey carried out for National KidsDay, it's important that the church and its leaders suggest that there are things much more important than celebrity."

Dr Sentamu, Britain's second most senior Church of England cleric and the country's first black archbishop, has not avoided controversy in his first year in office.

In addition to participating in the BA crosses and Muslim veils debates, he also held a week-long vigil for peace, camping out in York Minister, and wrote to the heads of firms planning to make hundreds redundant in the city, voicing his fears.

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