The Archbishop of Birmingham has hit out at opponents of religion by claiming that "the experiment" of a secular society had failed.
In his homily at the annual civic mass, at St Chad's Cathedral yesterday, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, called for a shared vision to restore civic responsibility and pride.
Civic representatives, including the city's Lord Mayor Coun John Hood, judiciary and other faith groups were among the congregation which heard the archbishop say that technology alone could not solve society's problems.
"Today many recognise that the experiment of modern secular society has failed," he said.
"Rationality and technology are not enough, either to hold us together or to inspire us. There is something more for which the human spirit reaches out and indeed wants to give.
"If everyone in an organisation, be it a hospital, or a bank, or an industry, simply worked precisely and solely to their job description, the enterprise would grind to a halt within days.
"Indeed, what makes for a successful enterprise is precisely a shared vision, an underlying sense of purpose, a team effort in which personal whims and autonomy are put to one side for the greater, common good.
"And the same is true for our civic and public life. We need a shared vision, a common aim, a shaping of personal autonomy for the sake of something more important.
"Yet we seem to be losing the knack of engendering and sustaining that sense of civic ownership, responsibility and pride."
Criticising secularists who dismissed religious belief as irrational and inadmissible, the archbishop said a key element in the loss of shared values had been "a gross misrepresentation of the value and contribution of religious belief".