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Archbishop: 'South Africa has lost its father'

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said:

The death of President Nelson Mandela was announced in memorable words by President Zuma.

South Africa has lost its greatest citizen and its father.

Nelson Mandela, fighting to the end, is freed to be with his God in joy and reward for his great service and sacrifice.

We pray for his family, for his friends and for his country.

We are challenged to show the same degree of humanity, of courage and of generosity.

Reactions to Archbishop's Christmas spending message

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's statement that a spending culture at Christmas is making people "miserable" has sparked public reaction on Facebook.

Justin Welby
Justin Welby told ITV's Martin Lewis that overspending at Christmas was risking people's relationships. Credit: PA

Writing on the social networking site, Laurie Turner said: "I can't see the point of getting into debt just for one day. If you haven't the money, don't buy it."

Jackie Perry blamed advertising: "What do you expect when children and adults alike are bombarded with media hype and having Christmas adverts rammed down their throats from October."

But Nicola Bulloc said: "I am on a low wage but I always manage to buy all the presents and bits without getting in debt."

To add your voice and let us know your views, comment on the ITV News Facebook page.

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Prince George to be christened in Chapel Royal

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital with Prince George. Credit: PA Wire

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's son Prince George will be christened later in front of close family and friends of his parents.

The three-month-old baby, who will one day be king, will be baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, in the little known Chapel Royal at St James's Palace this afternoon.

Read: Prince George's christening to be held in historic Chapel Royal

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are expected to be at the ceremony along with the Prince of Wales, who has become a grandfather for the first time, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.

Kate's family - parents Carole and Michael Middleton and siblings Pippa and James - are thought to be invited, along with the godparents who, like the guests, have not been publicly named.

Archbishop hopes George's baptism inspires

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he hoped that people would not view baptism as only for a future king or "special people."

Of course, the great good news is that God doesn't care who we are. It's for adults and children. And there may be people wondering: 'I wonder if that's at all possible for me or for my family or for my child or for all of us together?' And the answer is it's not just possible, it's extremely easy.

God's love is offered without qualification, without price, without cost, to all people in all circumstances always.

Baptism a 'hugely important' moment for Prince George

The Archbishop of Canterbury will baptise Prince George. Credit: PA Wire

The Archbishop of Canterbury said the baby son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be joining two billion people around the world in the "family of the church" when he baptises him tomorrow at St James's Palace in central London.

The father-of-five, and former oil executive said the ceremony would mark the next "hugely important" moment in Prince George's life following his birth on July 22.

Mr Welby, who has already spoken of the "great privilege and honour" of baptising George, said he was sure that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would have received so much advice that they could "probably fill a house with it."

He said: "My message to them would be - what a treat, what an amazing gift, what wonderful times that you will have.

"There'll be great times and tough times - there always are with children.

"Through christening you're bringing God into the middle of it all, and I know that when he's in the middle of it all somehow it's held in his hands, and that's extraordinary."

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Archbishop warns MPs not to rush Syria decision

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned MPs not to rush their decision on whether to vote for military intervention in the Syria conflict.

Ahead of tomorrow's early return to Parliament, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he feared the possible consequences of intervention, saying they were "beyond description and horrible".

Free Syrian Army fighters carry weapons as they take up positions during an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President.
Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby has warned MPs not to rush their decision on Syria. Credit: REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

He told the Daily Telegraph: "I have had a lot of conversations with people in the region.

"I think the overwhelming sense is of a really moving and terrible sense of fear about what might come out of, what might be happening in the next few weeks - not predicated on people doing one thing or people doing another, just a sense that this a terribly, terribly dangerous time."

However, the Archbishop acknowledged that the Government was better informed than he was, making clear that he had no sense that politicians were "slavering" to "unleash the dogs of war".

Archbishop's rejection comes as big blow to RSPCA

The RSPCA has been accused of becoming too politicised in its pursuit of animal welfare causes. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive

The Archbishop of Canterbury's decision to turn down the role of vice-patron of the RSPCA will set back an organisation that has endured some negative recent press.

The animal charity has been accused of being heavy-handed in its approach to pet-owners and of allegedly pursuing criminal convictions to increase its revenue.

It was also accused of wasting public donations by spending £326,000 in pursuing legal action against fox hunters in the Cotswolds last year.

Welby snubs RSPCA for causes which need him more

A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace has explained the Archbishop of Canterbury's decision not to follow his predecessors in accepting the role of vice-patron of the RSPCA.

Since taking office in March this year, the Archbishop has received many kind invitations to patron a large variety of charities and good causes. Each invitation has been an honour, and in an ideal world he would like to accept them all.

However, in light of the sheer volume of the requests the Archbishop receives, and the many pressures on his time and resources, he has reluctantly decided to restrict his patronage to a manageable number of organisations, based on where he feels his support could be most beneficial.

– Spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace

She added: "Nevertheless, the Archbishop has enormous admiration for the RSPCA and hopes to see its work thrive long into the future."

Archbishop of Canterbury snubs traditional RSPCA role

The Most Rev Justin Welby's predecessor, Dr Rowan Williams, accepted the vice-patron role. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Archbishop of Canterbury has broken with tradition and turned down a post as vice-patron of the RSPCA, which has faced criticism for its recent bullish pursuit of animal welfare issues.

The animal charity, which was founded by an Anglican priest in 1824, has been accused of wasting donations on legal action.

Lambeth Palace said the Most Rev Justin Welby has "enormous admiration" for the RSPCA but had declined the invitation as he has "reluctantly decided to restrict his patronage".

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