When Rowan Williams retired as Archbishop of Canterbury one could almost feel the sense of relief in the Cabinet. In place of a bearded leftie who equated capitalism with greed, Lambeth Palace would be occupied by a former oil executive who understood business and would have sympathy with conservative economic policies.

That illusion was shattered yesterday when the new incumbent, Justin Welby, backed an open letter from 43 bishops attacking Government welfare policy. At least Rowan Williams would have couched his condemnation in convoluted terms. Yesterday’s letter, by contrast, was as direct as a Labour press release.

It claimed that

This is welfare worship with a convert’s zeal – The Times (subscription)
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