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The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I wish to thank the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, for what he said and for the excellent way in which he has drawn together the threads of the debate. I shall not detain noble Lords because we have had a long day. As I was musing over the contributions, it seemed to me that this has been an optimistic debate. We have not looked back or looked forward in despair but addressed real issues with a sense of purpose.

I also found myself musing that this is an extraordinary assembly in many respects. What other parliament throughout the world would devote a whole day to moral and spiritual matters in the life of the nation? Perhaps it says something about the value of an assembly and Chamber like this that it is able to be a witness and a sign of what a democratic society stands for.

It was said in some of the newspapers earlier this week that I was calling for a moral crusade. I have already rejected that understanding of the matter. The Motion on the Order Paper is "to call attention" and perhaps I may point to three areas which I have picked up to which we have called attention. First, we have called attention to the importance of nurturing young people to capture a vision of moral values as central to a responsible and caring society. Your Lordships have echoed that again and again. Secondly, we have called attention to the centrality of our schools and affirmed the crucial role of our teachers. We want to encourage the initiative of SCAA. Thirdly, we have called attention to the need for all sections of society--parents, the media, the entertainment industry--to exercise their responsibilities on behalf of us all.

In all the marvellous contributions we have heard, that of the noble Lord, Lord Marsh, stands out for me because he took me on. I wonder whether, with respect to him, I may be allowed to take him on and offer three points for him to reflect on, because I enjoyed his contribution. First, I have invited people of good will, of different religions, whether or not they are believers, to explore with us what are the shared values that hold society together. I have not claimed a monopoly for Christians or the Churches.

Secondly, the noble Lord referred to wealth creation. I thoroughly agree with that and with other speakers who mentioned it, but it depends on morality--honesty, thrift, hard work, trust, fidelity in all we do. If we do not agree about that, society could easily degenerate into gangsterism and we have evidence of societies in our world where that is happening.

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Thirdly, to imply that Nazi atrocities are understood mainly as a failure of economic management is a great over-simplification. It is not enough to imply that if you get the economy right morality will look after itself. Perhaps I may re-quote the noble Lord's friend: "No, no, no!". You simply cannot take moral behaviour for granted and it needs redefining, re-exploring and nurturing again and again. That is why the debate has been so important.

So the debate ends, but it is my hope that we shall find ways of strengthening the moral fibre of our society in the days ahead. We can build on much: the good will that there is around, the idealism of young people and so on.

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When I was younger, these were among the words of the Bible that I was taught:


    "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom".
Perhaps that idea has gone out of fashion these days, but perhaps your Lordships learnt it as well as I did. I have noticed that, although the word "wisdom" has not been used by many speakers in the debate, there has been wisdom in what we have said. Therefore, I think we can look forward with a sense of hope. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion for Papers.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.

        House adjourned at twenty-five minutes past five o'clock


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