UK 'needs to rediscover principles'
Britain needs to rediscover firm and moral principles on which to build its future, the Archbishop of York said.
Speaking at the launch of his book On Rock Or Sand?: Firm Foundations For Britain's Future, Dr John Sentamu added that it was perhaps the role of the Church to suggest what those principles should be.
The archbishop said the book - which has been contributed to by economic, political, social and religious experts - also confirms that it is impossible to consider the kind of policies that should shape the future of the nation without focusing on its virtues.
Recognising that it was "potentially dangerous" for a church leader to write about such matters at the start of an election year, he added: "This book is not an attack on the Government or the Opposition. Anyone who suggests that it is promoting the interests or arguments of one political party or another is both mistaken and missing the point.
"The book is a challenge to everyone about the underlying questions for those contemplating the responsibilities of government at this time."
Archbishop Sentamu said that he felt his faith compelled him to get involved in such matters, commenting on what he felt had caused the economic crash.
He said: "The financial collapse in 2008 should teach us that we were becoming obsessed with money: salaries, bonuses, the cost of houses and expensive luxuries we could live without.
"When money rules, we remember the price of things and forget the value of things. That is a bad mistake.
"The financial collapse happened because people borrowed money they didn't have, to buy things they didn't need, to achieve a happiness that wouldn't last."
He also said that the consumer society had curiously become a way of "distributing unhappiness".
Addressing guests at the launch, Archbishop Sentamu said the vision the book offers is of what he has described as a well-being, not a welfare, society founded on principles of freedom, fellowship, service of God and neighbour and on the rule of law.