Peter Stanford

Peter James Stanford is an English writer, editor, journalist, and presenter

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Canonised: Pope John Paul II

You don't have to be a saint to be a saint

You don't have to be all that saintly to be a saint, as even Catholic clerics attest. But then, argues Peter Stanford canonisation has long been more about politics than purity

Polls have indicated many priests would be in favour of allowing marriage within the priesthood

Why Pope Francis should allow priests to wed

Among the select group of old friends back in Argentina whom Pope Francis rings regularly from Rome was, until her recent death, Clelia Podesta. In 1972 she had married his former colleague, Bishop Jeronimo Podesta, causing the couple to be abandoned by every other leading figure in a Catholic hierarchy that sticks rigidly to the line that priests must remain celibate. But not by Pope Francis.

Ten more commandments: How to save the Anglican church

Twenty years ago, Anglicans believed its first female priests would reignite the Church of England. It never happened. Amid private infighting, public apathy and a resurgent Vatican, Peter Stanford draws up a rescue plan

The Pope's first year: Have we created a Fantasy Francis for ourselves?

Peter Stanford warns that, despite the hope for change invested in him, this Pope is a conservative at heart

Mini & Me, By Michael Cooper. Ziji, £11.99

It was one of those Cathy Come Home TV moments: 38 years ago, Franc Roddam's Inside Story documentary followed the fate in the care system of a baby-faced, articulate, compelling 11-year-old arsonist, Michael "Mini" Cooper. The programme touched a public nerve and prompted a national debate about how we dealt with youngsters whose parents weren't up to the job.

Why are there so few British-born Jewish players in England's top flight?

While Jews are twice as likely as the general public to be devout football fans, there's not been a British-born Jewish player in England's top flight for four decades

17 September 2013: The wreckage of Italy's Costa Concordia cruise ship which begins to emerge from water near the harbour of Giglio Porto.

The Concordia saga has shown Italy at its very best - and its worst

The triumph that has been achieved off the Tuscan coast is not a one-off

Jimmy: a Legacy of Peace, By Margaret Mizen with Justin Butcher

We live in vengeful times where perpetrators of crime face increasingly punitive sentences, without real consideration as to whether they prevent reoffending. Easy for me to note this illogicality, since neither I nor anyone close to me has been a victim of a serious crime. Margaret Mizen, by contrast, has not been spared. So it makes her commitment to understanding why those in our prisons offend all the more powerful.

How to read a graveyard: Travels among the dead of the Somme

The war graves of the Somme are a familiar sight. But look closely at the headstones, says Peter Stanford, and it is possible to decode hidden histories of the 20th century

Shame on the leaders of the Catholic Church for their sweeping campaign against gay marriage

The one message that echoed this week is that to be Catholic is to be anti-gay. Once this whole dispute over gay marriage has subsided, that is the message that will endure

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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn