LONDON – The Archbishop of York has called for a new generation of Good Samaritans to bring comfort to those struggling in the recession.
In a Wednesday commentary in The Sun, Dr. John Sentamu criticized the "reckless risk-taking of others and the gambling casino culture within our banks" that has resulted in job losses and tough times for families.
"However, out of these hard times I believe we are seeing a renewed sense of togetherness in communities, with many people carrying out selfless acts to support those in difficulty," he said.
He praised British people for their "unrivaled sense of justice and fairness" and pointed to the recognition of a "moral duty to stand up for our neighbors."
He gave the example of staff at Portakabin who, rather than see anyone made redundant, agreed to cut working hours across the entire workforce.
"We are living through a time where some at the top of society have put financial gain before the welfare of those at the bottom. We see it in the bankers' bonuses and the MPs' expenses," he said.
"We have a responsibility to look out for our neighbors and to support them ... People are more important than profits."
The archbishop encouraged everyone to do their part instead of leaving it to the government. By contrast, he praised the selflessness demonstrated by individuals in the wake of severe flooding in Cumbria.
"In Cockermouth, we see the selflessness of those prepared to put themselves in harm's way to save others, of the care extended to those in need and the ability for a community to pull together to show love to those hit worst by a catastrophe," said the archbishop, who is currently in Workington and Keswick to visit victims of the deluge.
The story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, he reminded readers, commands people to help those in need, even strangers and those from a different background.
"As a society we are inter-dependent and we feel each other's suffering," he said.
"I hope that in the darkness of the economic gloom we will create a new generation of Good Samaritans in Britain who will support and encourage their neighbors and ensure this country is pulled back onto its feet, stronger than ever before."