The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, remembered weapons expert Dr David Kelly, during his sermon at a Civic Service in Lichfield Anglican Cathedral yesterday. Dr Kelly, who was grilled by a government committee last week, over alleged comments to a BBC reporter about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, probably took his own life on Friday. The Archbishop said: "Today we cannot gather in prayer without remembering Dr David Kelly. We must pray for him, for his widow and for his daughters. We do not know what motivated him as he took his last walk. But we commend him to the Lord. "His death must also cause every one of us to reflect, especially those of us involved in public life. There is, in our country, something of an unholy alliance between the media and the politician. Both, quite rightly, deal with public opinion. Both seek to be responsive, formative, even manipulative of that opinion. "But today we must reflect again on the grave responsibilities to the truth that are to be upheld by all those so involved. It distresses me deeply to think that there are people in positions of eminent public responsibility who know the answer to the questions Dr Kelly was being asked. Yet they remain silent, believing that the confidentiality of their sources is more important. More important than one man's life? I think not. "Nor do we know the kind of political or personal pressure put on Dr Kelly. Certainly he complained of the harassment of the media. But there were other pressures too. I trust that in due course we will learn the truth about them. When public life and the media are so devoid of compassion, and become cavalier with the truth, they become a distortion of their true purpose. It is time for us to recover some of our finer qualities and enshrine them again in our public and civic life. "Let us resolve that each of us, in our own way and in our own circumstances, will strive always to speak and honour the truth, and extend to others, especially to those in need, a measure of the infinite compassion of God."
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