Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely is Associate Editor of The Independent where he writes on social, ethical, political and cultural issues. He writes leaders, features and has a weekly column in the Independent on Sunday. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.

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The church has lost its way on the road to gay marriage

Since Victorian times, when marrying for love became commonplace, this weekend’s change has been inevitable

No contest: Russian flags show how people of Sevastopol will vote in today’s referendum

Ukraine crisis: Is the West trying to upset the Russians?

This is not the Cold War. Ukraine should not be forced to take sides, but the EU and US are behaving provocatively on Moscow's doorstep

Pope Francis - the first year: Is the rebel too good to be true?

He is cleaning up the Vatican bank. He thinks the Catholic Church should worry less about homosexuality and more about the poor. He has ruffled feathers - but, asks his biographer Paul Vallely, is he as radical as he seems?

Part of the process: Former IRA member John Downey

Northern Ireland: The responses, not the IRA amnesties, damage peace

The slow running peace process in Northern Ireland has not been helped by the posturing on all sides after the IRA amnesty revelations

The vicious schism between Sunni and Shia has been poisoning Islam for 1,400 years - and it's getting worse

Tracing the current conflict in Syria back to the year 632, when the Prophet Mohamed died

Determined: Danny Bond, seen here in 2001, eventually decided to starve himself to death

Child euthanasia: Too hard to live, too young to die

The decision in Belgium to allow euthanasia for sick children raises questions about the fitness of young people to make life-and-death decisions, and about medical ethics

A scene from 'The Prince of the Pagodas'
Still Freakish ... but increasingly common weather is causing problems around the world, like in the Somerset Levels

Prince Charles is right about climate change

Ignoring global warming and its causes is a comforting path for politicians paralysed by self-interest and the consolations of denial

Get the picture: Despite the positive spin, Benefits Street creates more Others for us to dismiss as diabolical

As 'Benefits Street' shows, we are quick to demonise and slow to understand

In its attempt to chase ratings, the Channel 4 programme merely reinforces stereotypes about people who rely on the state

New wave: Pope Francis has liberated many Catholics from decades of internal exile

Pope Francis can heal the Catholic Church

'Time' magazine's Person of the Year appeals to believers and atheists alike with a message that could bring redemption to a troubled faith

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit