IT WAS possible to be proud of being Welsh without being
xenophobic and "cutting ourselves off from the insights of other
people, races and nations", the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry
Morgan, said last week.
The Prince of Wales was in the congregation to hear Dr Morgan
deliver the St David's Day address at St John the Baptist's,
Cardiff, at a service hosted by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff.
Dr Morgan took as his text the "shocking" account in St
Matthew's Gospel of Jesus's encounter with the Syro-Phoenician
woman seeking healing for her daughter. Jesus initially "agrees
with his disciples' somewhat racist views" in replying: "I can't
take what belongs to the children and give it to the dogs," Dr
He suggested that Jesus was "speaking out of an agonising inner
conflict" about whether or not his mission was to all humanity or
just to the Jews. The decision by Jesus to relent after the woman
argued her case was, he suggested, "the only instance in the New
Testament where Jesus loses an argument and he has the grace to
change his mind as a result". The account spoke of Jesus's "needing
to learn, to enlarge his vision, to hear new truth".
The lesson for the leaders of Wales was that the country, an
"emerging nation" with a recently devolved government, might have
"much to learn from others who have trodden this path before us . .
. It is possible to be both distinctively Welsh and open to the
insights of others," Dr Morgan said.
St Matthew's account also showed that leaders need not be afraid
to change their mind. It was "sometimes difficult" to "let go of
Party ideology or views that you have always held dear. . . Yet
that is what true leadership may sometimes require."
Dr Morgan has been a fervent supporter of devolution in Wales.
In 2011, he said that it was "crucially important" for people to
vote "yes" in a referendum on devolving more powers to the Welsh
Assembly. He described it as a "justice issue".