The media's interest in the appointment is a sign of the still-powerful Christian heritage of Britain. And the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with his London residence just across the river from the House of Commons, is a potent symbol of that.
What is also clear, however, is that this Christian heritage appears to be growing more distant. One reporter commented that the new archbishop was not, for example, on the front page of today's Daily Mail whereas 20 years ago he would have been. The interest in Archbishop-designate Welby's appointment has not grabbed the attention of the popular press although perhaps if the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who has written a column for the Sun on Sunday, had been appointed, that might have been different.
There is also a noticeable decrease in the number of specialist reporters covering religion. Bishop Welby handled his first encounter with the media impressively.
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