Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely is visiting professor in Public Ethics at the University of Chester and a senior research fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester. He writes on ethical, political and cultural issues. He has a fortnightly column in the Independent on Sunday and also writes for the New York Times and the Church Times. His latest book is Pope Francis – Untying the Knots. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.

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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

Funny money: Lenny Henry is a co-founder of Comic Relief

Comic Relief scandal: There are red faces behind the red noses

The charity is under fire after a ‘Panorama’ exposé, but the laws governing investments are complex

Scientology: If religions don’t need a God, what do they need?

We have got to the point where individuals can pretty much define it as they want

Nelson Mandela obituary: Madiba - the father of South African democracy

"Rwanda is our nightmare, South Africa is our dream." So wrote the Nobel Prize-winning African novelist Wole Soyinka in 1994. It was just a month after two events which seemed to span the polarities of despair and hope so many saw in the continent of Africa in the post-independence era. In Rwanda a million people had died in a ghastly genocide. But South Africa had made an astonishingly peaceful transition from oppressive white rule to a black-majority government elected in the country's first free elections ever - and it had done so under the guidance of one extraordinary man.

Nelson Mandela death: A man of his time, and above his time

Nelson Mandela was a man, always, of his time. Yet he was, paradoxically, one who in some ways stood apart from – and even above – that time. It was in this that his greatness lay.

Footage shown to the court from a helmet camera of a Marine during a patrol in Afghanistan in which an insurgent was killed

Brutalised men do brutal things

It is understandable, if inexcusable, that men such as Marine 'A', who will be sentenced this week for murdering an Afghan, overstep the mark

JB Shorts 10, Joshua Brooks, Manchester: Theatre review

This twice-yearly festival of short plays for the theatre – by writers who make their living from television soaps and dramas – is now in its tenth incarnation and gets better and better. JB Shorts is named after the Joshua Brooks pub across the road from the old BBC headquarters in Manchester which produced much of seminal radio drama of the last century. There must be something in the air there.

Yellow Rattle and mixed wildflowers, flowering in meadow

Wanted: A vision for two-thirds of the UK and the chance for David Cameron to polish his tarnished green credentials

The PM has a chance to revitalise the countryside - but his recent record suggests he has other priorities

Fighter: Ex-social services head Sharon Shoesmith, who contested her dismissal

Our love of soap opera is a real killer

The collective urge to simplify events such as the Baby P case means these grim tragedies will continue to happen – and make headlines

Family first: According to the Health Secretary, care homes are ‘a last resort’ in Asian cultures

Politicians must share our shame over neglect of Britain's elderly

Jeremy Hunt is right. We need to tackle the neglect and loneliness of old people, but he is looking at the issue through rose-tinted glasses

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Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

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Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
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The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
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11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
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Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public