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Christians must pull together to face global challenges, says former Archbishop of Canterbury

Lord Rowan Williams with Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (Flickr/Mazur)

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Oystermouth has said Christians should “pull together” to tackle society’s challenges with more “weight”.

He was speaking before his talk at Arundel and Brighton’s 50th anniversary celebrations on Sunday, where 10,000 Catholics were in attendance at the Amex Stadium, in Brighton.

Lord Williams said challenges including increased poverty, violence, disease and environmental degradation could all be tackled as “one body”.

“Christians can respond together recognising that any one group of Christians don’t have the answer to all these challenges,” he said. “When we do work together it’s so much more successful.”

Lord Williams said there are similarities between Pope Francis’s encyclical and the current Archbishop Canterbury, Justin Welby’s remarks on the environment.

The 50th anniversary celebrations get underway (Mazur/Flickr)
The 50th anniversary celebrations get underway (Mazur/Flickr)

“What I think will be very interesting in the next few years will be just, to pull together the social thought on which Christian compassion is agreed.”

He added: “It’s been very striking especially in the past ten years or so that when major issues come up in public whether it’s the Iraq war or issues around poverty, security and terrorism, the prison system, again and again I find myself side by side with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.”

This communal response was also in evidence, according to Lord Williams, after the terror attack in Tunisia, and not just within the Christian churches.

“We find that there’s convergence and an echo in how other religions and religious traditions push back against the violence and the injustice in the world,” he added.

The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton Richard Moth, agreed with Lord Williams saying he was open to working together where “possible and practical”.

He added the Catholic Church’s schools help prepare young people to tackle the same social issues Lord Williams highlighted.

He said: “We’re enabling our young people to understand an ethos and a way of life that we can enable them to grow and be ever more open to that – that will transform society.”

The choir make themselves heard (Mazur/Flickr)
The choir make themselves heard (Mazur/Flickr)

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP also spoke at the 50th anniversary celebrations.

The day concluded with a Mass of Thanksgiving in the stadium at 3pm led by Bishop Richard alongside the priests, deacons and people of the diocese.

During his homily, Bishop Richard said: “This is indeed a grand day for our Diocese as we celebrate 50 years since our foundation in 1965. It is truly wonderful to see so many from right across our Diocese gathered to celebrate our history, the Church that we are today and the future to which we look with hope and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit at work in his people.”

A choir of 800 people including Stephen Bloy, a contestant on BBC TV show The Voice, led the singing during Mass.