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Archbishop says Christianity in Britain is at an end

Christianity is close to being "vanquished" in Britain and no longer influences the Government or people's lives, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales said on Wednesday.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, gave his startling assessment to a gathering of 100 priests in the northern city of Leeds.

The Cardinal said that Christians, and particularly the 4.1 million Catholics, had to adapt to "an alien culture". He called for revolutionary thinking on how the Church operated and how it reached lapsed Catholics, non-believers and young people.

"Christianity as a background to people's lives and moral decisions and to the Government and to the social life of Britain has almost been vanquished. We live in a totally new time for all Christians, especially for we Catholics, and the anguish of the Western world is there for all to see."

He said people turned to consumerism, to New Age practices, or to the "transient" pleasures of alcohol, drugs and recreational sex rather than to God.

Text of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's Leeds address

Telegraph (London)