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Seek happiness, not prosperity, archbishop urges

BBC - Sun, Apr 24th 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury said politicians have now started to talk about happiness.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said in his Easter sermon that corporate prosperity without fulfilment is an "empty thing".

Rowan Williams said it was a good thing that people were realising there is "more to life than Gross National Product".

Earlier, the Archbishop of Westminster said he was praying for those in areas blighted by conflict and disaster.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols said he hoped for peace in Libya and elsewhere.

"We watch the work of death every day, in the natural disasters of Japan, in the ceaseless work of war in zones of conflict around the world," he said in his Easter homily.

'Thousand street parties'
"Today we pray for peace: for the city of Misrata and for a ceasefire in Libya that new political structures may be put in place; for peace in Afghanistan, in Syria, across the Middle East, in Ivory Coast and in so many other places".

Meanwhile, the Queen has led the royal family for their traditional Easter service at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

The Easter service is one of the last formal royal engagements before Prince William's marriage Delivering his sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Williams said he welcomed the fact that politicians were now talking about the importance of happiness rather than prosperity.

"It seems that, just as we can't find fulfilment in just loving ourselves, so we can't just generate happiness for ourselves. It comes from outside, from relationships, environment, the unexpected stimulus of beauty - but not from any programme that we can identify," he said.

The government has recently announced proposals to try to measure the nation's wellbeing, with some households taking part in surveys on the issue.

'Outspoken attack'
Dr Williams also commended the encouragement of days of "shared celebration" such as the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

"It's nice and entirely appropriate that we are being encouraged to some public displays of shared celebration next Friday: let a thousand street parties blossom!"

He also stressed the value of community services, such as the local library, and warned that people should "think twice before dismantling what's already there".

Meanwhile, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, meanwhile, has used his Easter message later to attack "aggressive secularism".

The cardinal, who is known for his robust defence of traditionalist Christian teaching, said the enemies of Christianity want to "take God from the public sphere".

He called on Christians of all denominations to resist the efforts of such people to destroy Christian heritage and culture.

It was something Pope Benedict warned about on his state visit to Britain last year.

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott says that even by Cardinal O'Brien's standards his Easter sermon constitutes a vehement and outspoken attack on secularism and what he will describe as the enemies of the Christian faith in Britain and the power they currently exert.

In a reference to equality legislation preventing discrimination against homosexual people, Cardinal O'Brien denounced what he claims is the way Christians have been prevented from acting in accordance with their beliefs because they refuse to endorse such lifestyles.

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