Increasing inequality and the fact minorities have a “much harder time” are among the Archbishop of Canterbury’s main fears.
Justin Welby says vulnerable people over the last nine years are now having a “much harder time” than they did before. The head of the Church of England has voiced concern for the country’s direction, saying that tolerance for minority groups has decreased and homelessness has increased.The Archbishop of Canterbury used his annual Christmas message, shared with Monday’s The Big Issue, to reflect on the state of the vulnerable people in the UK, which he says has worsened over the last nine years.
He told readers there are more food bank users, an increase in rough sleepers and a rise in what he calls “vitriolic language”, adding that people’s tolerance for minority groups has gone down. The Most Rev Justin Welby said: “We have had an MP murdered. I am not saying we are in a crisis, I am just saying the direction of travel is not what we want.” Labour MP Jo Cox was killed in June 2016, just days before the Brexit referendum, by far-right extremist Thomas Mair.
Mr Welby was also asked about the ongoing Prince Andrew controversy over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and whether the Royal Family should have to adhere to higher morals than the general public. “I think generally speaking they do serve in a way that is extraordinary in what is literally, for them, a life sentence,” he said.
Asked what his Christmas message for the country was, the Archbishop said: “Don’t fear – deal with fear.