The summer riots in Britain and the financial crisis have broken bonds and abused trust in British society, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in his Christmas Day sermon.
Archbishop Rowan Williams appealed to those congregated at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday to learn lessons about "mutual obligation" from the events of the past year.
Citing the four days of U.K. riots and the current European debt crisis, the Archbishop said "the most pressing question" now facing Britain is "who and where we are as a society."
"Bonds have been broken, trust abused and lost," he said. "Whether it is an urban rioter mindlessly burning down a small shop that serves his community, or a speculator turning his back on the question of who bears the ultimate cost for his acquisitive adventures in the virtual reality of today's financial world, the picture is of atoms spinning apart in the dark."
Williams, leader of the world's Anglicans, also quoted from the Book of Common Prayer in his sermon to say that if offenses are against one's neighbors, one should be ready to make restitution.