Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby today condemned government plans to cap benefits warning it could drive 200,000 children and families into poverty.
The Archbishop said society had a duty to support the "vulnerable and in need.
"When times are hard, that duty should be felt more than ever, not disappear or diminish."
Archbishop Welby said the current system recognised rising costs of food, fuel and housing by giving benefit rises in line with inflation.
"These changes will mean it is children and families who will pay the price for high inflation, rather than the government," he added.
His comments follow an open letter from 43 Church of England bishops, including Archbishop Welby, criticising plans to limit rises in working-age benefits and some tax credits to 1 per cent for three years.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told the BBC that Labour would go ahead with a benefits increase linked to inflation this year, which would be paid for by restricting pensions tax relief on high earners.
"I think it is pretty simple on Mother's Day to say that the government should help mums not millionaires," she said.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "This was a tough decision but it's one that will help keep the welfare bill sustainable in the longer term."