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Welby tells Parliamentarians to practise 'holy pragmatism'

12 June 2015


Keeping order: the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, during an EU referendum debate, on Tuesday 

Keeping order: the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, during an EU referendum debate, on Tuesday 

BRITAIN has "limitless" potential to be a "force for light and hope" in a dark world, the Archbishop of Canterbury told MPs this week.

Preaching at the service for the new Parliament, at St Margaret's, Westminster, on Tuesday, he told MPs and peers that he prayed daily that they might find "the courage, the strength, and the confidence to lead us into what we can be".

He said: "The nation in which we live, which we love and serve, has within it at all levels a moral vision and hope. Its potential in a world of darkness to be a force for light and hope is limitless."

Archbishop Welby emphasised his impartiality, and praised the public service of parliamentarians. He spoke of members of his own family who had fought and lost election campaigns - "on both sides, I need to stress that".

In his interactions with the world of politics, he said, "almost everyone I meet seeks to do what is right . . . and to serve their country with integrity. Views to the contrary are mere descents into cynicism."

But he warned that "the best intentions can lead to the wrong conclusions," and called for actions to be based on "eternal values that do not change", including "a dedication to the flourishing of the whole community."

Parliamentarians must practise "holy pragmatism", he suggested: the "pragmatism of love without limit, of unconditional love that reaches with generous, almost absurd grace to every person".

He assured those present that God was "greater than our greatest failures".

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