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Archbishop of Canterbury is someone for people ‘to get angry with’, says Rowan Williams

by Edward Malnick, Telegraph

Dr Rowan Williams, who will step down from the post tomorrow, said that “risking unpopularity” and “taking the flak” were what the job was all about.

His warning comes weeks before the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, a former oil executive, is due to take over as spiritual head of the Church.

In his final broadcast before his departure, Dr Williams defends his outspoken attacks on successive governments, including his strong opposition to the Iraq war.

“Risking unpopularity, taking the flak, is what archbishops are here for – it is the stuff of the job. It is something you realise the more you work here, that maybe Britain benefits from having someone to get angry with, and that compared to my predecessors I have got off lightly,” he says.

In 2008 Dr Williams was widely criticised for suggesting that the adoption of some aspects of Islamic Sharia law in Britain “seems unavoidable”, although in an interview earlier this year he admitted he had “failed to find the right words” and “succeeded in confusing people”.

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