Social problems require more than charity, says Archbishop

It will take more than compassion and charity to solve the social problems in society, the Archbishop of Wales has said.

Speaking at a thanksgiving service for church groups working on community issues, Dr Barry Morgan said that compassionate acts could end up bandaging rather than solving the problem.

"We have an obligation to do all that we can to meet the needs of those who are marginalised, hungry and alienated but it is not just a matter of individual acts of compassion and charity," he said.

"Those are not enough because the Bible talks about justice not charity. Compassion can often just be a remedial act, dealing with symptoms whereas justice deals with causes."

The service was joined by representatives of Church Army, Mothers' Union, St Paul's Community Development Aberavon, the Trussell Trust, the Provincial Rural Life Adviser and Embrace the Middle East.

The organisations work on a range of issues, including housing, emergency food handouts, community development and prison chaplaincy.

Dr Morgan continued: "When there are people in our society and world who go hungry or live in damp housing or have no homes, then compassion is not enough. We need to do something to make sure that these things do not happen.

"Again, as one of the early Church fathers, Bishop Irenaeus put it, 'The glory of God is a human being fully alive,' and a human being cannot be fully alive when he is hungry, cold and naked.

"And, if you and I are to reflect God's glory we cannot rest until poverty, hunger and injustice have been eradicated.

"It is part of what it means to believe in Jesus who came that we might have fullness of life in all its aspects."

The service in Cardiff also saw the launch of "Windows", a book of poetry written by prisoners connected with Parc Prison Chaplaincy.

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