OUTSPOKEN York priest Tim Jones has hit out at a coalition Minister for ridiculing the Archbishop of Canterbury after he criticised the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Father Tim described the anonymous Minister as 'wannabe Dirty Harry-esque' and said he suspected Archbishop Rowan Williams was one of the few prominent British voices to reflect on Bin Laden's death who was actually in New York on 9/11.

The priest's comments were made in a sermon to the annual meeting of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers at St Lawrence's Parish Church, York, on Saturday.

Father Tim hit the headlines around the world 18 months ago when he said in a pre-Christmas sermon that shoplifting from large national chains was sometimes the best option for many desperate and vulnerable people.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said earlier this week that the shooting by US special forces of the unarmed Al Qaeda leader, Bin Laden, had made him ‘very uncomfortable’.

Father Tim said that like bells being rung in warning, the Archbishop's words grated on the nerves of many.

"Silly old Archbishop of Canterbury, the national media seem to have universally cried," he said.

"Who does he think he is, spouting warning words of wisdom and faith when there is rejoicing to be done at the death of an enemy? Few pundits have resisted the opportunity to ridicule Rowan Williams for his reflections on the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

"A coalition minister (bravely anonymous) is quoted by the Daily Telegraph as calling the Archbishop naive: “It’s quite easy to talk about due process and justice from the warmth and safety of a palace in London, but out in the real world, things are rather more complicated.”

Father Tim said Lambeth Palace was no more cossetted than the Palace of Westminster. "The warmth and safety of the Palace of Westminster is exactly where we trust our elected leaders to fight for due process and justice," he said.

"It is precisely those, like Bin Laden, who are most despised and feared by the public and the powerful alike, for whom due process and justice are necessary, as much for our sake as theirs.

"When we dispense with such niceties simply because the offences of the accused are heinous, then we put at risk the very foundations of the civilization we profess to cherish. Thank God for a national figure who can calmly, gently, and pointedly remind us of that."

He said the Archbishop had been at a church meeting two blocks from the Twin Towers when murderers struck. "Like everyone else there, he experienced the Terror, the dust, and was a first hand witness to the death, the panic and the heroism. So get stuffed, anonymous coalition minister."

He said Churchill had come to recognised that the proper response to crime – even in times of war – was due process and justice and the Nuremberg war trials were a major triumph of the war.

At the trial in Munich of a man alleged to have been a guard at a Nazi extermination camp, evidence had been given by a witness who 'endured evil crimes beyond the imagination of any wannabe Dirty-Harry-esque coalition minister in today's Palace of Westminster.'