Don't pin hopes on 'heroes' - archbishop

2013-03-31 19:22

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London - The new archbishop of Canterbury warned against "pinning hopes on individuals" to solve all of society's problems in his first Easter Sunday sermon.

Justin Welby said a "hero leader culture" in which all trust was placed in one person only led to false hope.

Failing to recognise human failure in any organisation was "naive", he told worshippers at Canterbury Cathedral.

"Put not your trust in new leaders, better systems, new organisations or regulatory reorganisation," Welby said.

"They may well be good and necessary, but will to some degree fail.

"Human sin means pinning hopes on individuals is always a mistake, and assuming that any organisation is able to have such good systems that human failure will be eliminated is nave."

He said: "Human fallibility recognised, God's sovereignty trusted - these are also the only stable foundation for human beings in society."

The leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans pointed to newspaper reports on Friday that only 40% of churchgoers are convinced that he can resolve the problems of the Church of England.

"I do hope that means the other 60% thought the idea was so barking mad that they did not answer the question," Welby said.

In a radio interview before the sermon, the archbishop said the Church of England must show it can manage disagreement "gracefully" over issues such as women bishops and gay marriage.

Welby said the church faced the "challenge" of showing society that its members can hold different views but still remain "gracefully and deeply committed to each other".

Only once it could show it was capable of reconciling different viewpoints could it be a "sign to the world" of peace and reconciliation, he told Premier Christian Radio.

Welby, a 57-year-old former oil executive who was only ordained in 1989, was enthroned on 21 March.

Read more on:    religion

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