The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, highlighted inequality as contrary to community in a speech in Cardiff yesterday.
The wide-ranging address on the nature of community at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay also touched on the dangers of top-down management as well as public passivity and dependence on welfareism.
“Community occurs when people take responsibility for one another,” said the Swansea-born Archbishop. Using the example of voluntary blood donation to make his point, Dr Williams said no one has to give blood and there are no required amounts but still people perceive a need and donate.
The Archbishop also talked about the doctrine of human nature and the changeable nature of human beings.
Dr Williams said: “Community assumes a three dimensional history of a person. Accounting for their strengths and weaknesses and the particular gifts they have to give. It is therefore important to take education seriously and not reduce people to one dimension.”
He spoke out against the commodification of public goods, saying it reduced the three-dimensionality of people. He cited the black-market for organs as an example of how far collective responsibility in seeing people as three-dimensional has to come.
“The well being of Britain is not separable from the well being of third world countries,” said the Archbishop. He praised the United Nations for their work and said if organisations like the World Health Organisation did not exist, we would have to invent them.
Dr Williams announced earlier this month he would be stepping down as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of the year and taking up a position at University of Cambridge. The speech came at the end of a four-day visit to Wales.