The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will Sunday use his Christmas Day sermon to blame "broken bonds and abused trust" for undermining British society.
The 61-year-old leader of the worldwide Anglican church will urge worshippers at Canterbury Cathedral in southeast England to contemplate the role of Christian morality in solving modern problems, according to extracts from the sermon released by his office.
"The most pressing question we now face, we might well say, is who and where we are as a society," he will say. "Bonds have been broken, trust abused and lost."
Britain is facing another year of economic hardship and public spending cuts and suffered major outbreaks of rioting and looting in its major cities in August.
"Whether it is an urban rioter mindlessly burning down a small shop that serves his community, or a speculator turning his back on the question of who bears the ultimate cost for his acquisitive adventures in the virtual reality of today's financial world, the picture is of atoms spinning apart in the dark," he will warn.
Williams spoke of his "sadness" during the summer riots, and also gave his support to the Occupy London protesters outside St Paul's Cathedral in the midst of internal church conflicts over how to handle the anti-capitalist camp.
The Archbishop will quote from to the 350-year-old Book of Common Prayer's Long Exhortation as he calls on citizens to reflect on their responsibilities to society.
"If ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God but also against your neighbours; then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them; being ready to make restitution," he is to say.