The archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out against “tyrannical and populist” world leaders in a Christmas message likely to be seen partly as a rebuke against US president Donald Trump.
Justin Welby was preaching at Canterbury cathedral at the same time as Pope Francis made oblique criticism of Trump in his traditional Christmas address in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
The pontiff made particular reference to the situation in the Middle East just two weeks after the US president inflamed tensions in the region by controversially recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In Canterbury, Welby told worshippers that much could be learnt from the nativity story, where Jesus is “power seen in humility”.
He said: “In 2017, we have seen around the world tyrannical leaders that enslave their peoples, populist leaders that deceive them, corrupt leaders that rob them, even simply democratic, well-intentioned leaders of many parties and countries who are normal, fallible human beings.”
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