The Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address to General Synod today

A society that forgets about God, that loses the sense that it needs God (something discussed in the second interview I did), that no longer desires God – for John’s gospel has desire at its heart – such a society loses the profound call to see the wholeness of the individual human person and the call to love, by that person being set free in relationship with others. And without the church, without that community of faith, as the salt and light of that society, that society loses its way. Without God it cannot maintain a determining objective except power. As Nietzsche shows so clearly. Jacques Maritain, the Roman Catholic philosopher, wrote during the deepest darkness of 1942;

‘…deprived of a determining objective, political communion will carry its demands to the infinite, will absorb and regiment people, swallow up in itself the religious energies of the human being. Because it is not defined by a work to be done, it will only be able to define itself by its opposition to other human groups. Therefore, it will have essential need of an enemy against whom it will build itself; it is by recognizing and hating its enemies that the political body will find its own common consciousness.’[1]

Does that not speak to us as much today as it did in 1942? From the individual events like the shocking, disturbing and utterly abysmal harassing of Keir Starmer and David Lammy yesterday, to the threats of war in Eastern Europe, to the actual wars around the world. Do we not see societies forgetting God and therefore existing by the creation of an enemy. Do we not see it in our own society, and I fear do we not see it far to often in our own church?

And so in politics our concern about truth-speaking and truth-acting is not about political groupings – or in the church – but about where we find the foundations for confidence in government, confidence in leadership and above all the confidence in one another which enables us to function as a good society which seeks the common good.

Read it all.


Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture