Jubilee is opportunity to reassess values - bishop

The Bishop of London is inviting people to pause for thought over the Diamond Jubilee weekend and reflect on the direction they would like to see the nation take.

Writing in a Bible Society pamphlet, Dr Chartres said that Britain was a better place to live materially than in 1952, the year of the Queen's accession to the throne.

However, he observed some "worrying trends" as he lamented the breakdown of family ties and social bonds.

"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.

"Within families, within communities, within society as a whole, our relationships are more strained, more fragile, more broken than we care to recognise.

"As we celebrate the Jubilee of our justly popular monarch, we have an opportunity to ask some wider questions in the spirit of Jubilee, to pause, look back and ask where we are as a nation, and where we are going."

He expressed particular concern about for the future of young people.

“Promiscuity, separation and divorce have reached epidemic proportions in our society," he said.

“Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t be surprised that depression and the prescription of anti-depressants has reached a similarly epidemic level.

“Literally millions of children grow up without knowing a stable, loving, secure family life - and that is not to count the hundreds of thousands more who don’t even make it out of the womb each year.”

He added: "The extent of youth unemployment is appalling. The waste of human talent is unsustainable morally and economically."

The bishop made the comments in a pamphlet called "In Jubilee then and now: A big idea for the 21st century", distributed to MPs by the Bible Society.