British Society Obsessed with Sex and Divorce: Bishop
An obsession with sex and divorce is running rampant through British society, the Bishop of London said on Saturday, urging Britons to use Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebrations as a chance to reflect and change their ways.
Taking stock of the changes in Britain since Elizabeth came to the throne in 1952, Richard Chartres said rapid economic and progress had not come without its cost. "Promiscuity, separation and divorce have reached epidemic proportions in our society," Chartres said in a pamphlet written to mark this weekend's festivities.
"Britain is indeed a better place today materially than ever before, but that material progress has been at the expense of our relationships with one another, our communal life."
The senior Anglican churchman, a close friend of heir-the-throne Prince Charles who delivered the sermon at his son Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding last year, urged politicians to clamp down on the power of market forces and to give civic bodies the room to flourish and improve society.
"Government needs to do less, and do more to enable all the various bodies within civil society to do what they do best," he said. "But at the same time it is also necessary to rein in the market which has ruled supreme over the last 30 years."
The Church of England has turned up the volume during the economic downturn, urging the Conservative-led coalition government to consider the social impact of its harsh austerity plans, particularly in cuts to youth services.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader for 80 million Anglicans around the world, used his Christmas Day address last year to warn Britain risked tearing itself apart.
Williams also criticised the coalition government for acting radically without the mandate to do so, backed the anti-capitalist protest movement and supported calls for a "Robin Hood" tax on banks.
Chartres, seen as a potential successor to Williams who steps down at the end of this year, said the rate of youth unemployment was "appalling" - more than one in five people between the age of 16 and 24 are out of work in Britain.