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A vicars' pension scheme could be facing a precarious future unless church chiefs face up to a potentially massive deficit. John Ralfe, an independent pension expert, claimed this week that the pension scheme for some 16,400 Church of England clergy is "the riskiest in the country in terms of asset-type".

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has given his backing to heterosexual couples who want to enter civil partnerships

New Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, backs civil partnerships for heterosexual couples

Justin Welby, the recently enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury, has given his backing to heterosexual couples who want to enter civil partnerships – a right currently restricted to gay and lesbian couples.

Desmond Tutu is this year’s winner of the ‘spiritual Nobel’

Templeton Prize: Desmond Tutu wins a million – so will he follow the Dalai Lama and give it away?

When the Dalai Lama received £1.1m last year from the Templeton Foundation, he did what all good Buddhist monks who have preached against materialism might be expected to do – he gave it away.

Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square before giving his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ address

Quarter of a million hear Pope Francis denounce the greedy and exploitative in Easter message

Pope Francis used his first Easter message today to criticise the forces of capitalist greed and environmental destruction.

Pope Francis kisses a baby after his first Easter Sunday message

Easter Sunday: New Pope and Archbishop strike profound notes on Christianity's biggest day

Pope Francis calls for peace in Syria and the Korean peninsula

Pope Francis washes the feet of a prisoner at the Casal Del Marmo Youth Detention Centre

Pope washes feet of young offenders in prison - including two women - in traditional Easter ritual

Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 young offenders at a Rome detention centre yesterday – and for the first time included two women in the traditional Easter ritual.

The Lord Is My Shepherd: Archbishop of Canterbury will play The Vicar of Dibley theme tune on Classic FM on Easter Sunday

Archbishop Justin Welby puts Vicar of Dibley on Easter Sunday radio playlist

The Archbishop of Canterbury will play the theme tune from the BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley when he makes his radio presenting debut on Easter Sunday.

The shadow Health Secretary wants the Catholic Church to remember its commitment to social justice

Keep the faith, Andy Burnham tells NHS and Church

For this former altar boy, politics and religion are both about social justice

The Most Rev Justin Welby has warned that

Archbishop Justin Welby speaks out on gay relationships as he agrees to meet campaigner Peter Tatchell

The head of the Church of England has said some gay couples have loving and monogamous relationships of "stunning quality" - and he believes a woman will one day be made an archbishop.

Wilfrid Fox Napier, The Catholic Archbishop of Durban

South African cardinal who said paedophilia is 'not a criminal condition' apologises for offence

Cardinal Napier was among the conclave which elected the new Pope Francis

Westminster should drink from wisdom of Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury has discussed his personal approach to alcohol

Pope Francis waves the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica

So what happens next for Pope Francis?

Having begun his reign, auspiciously enough, with a self-deprecating joke – “the duty of the cardinals is to elect a Bishop of Rome,” he deadpanned, “and they’ve gone to the end of the world to find one” – Pope Francis went back inside St Peter’s for the solemn ceremonies that conclude the Conclave process, the most important of which is a Mass in the Sistine Chapel with the other 114 cardinal electors.

LA child sex abuse case involving one of the 115 cardinals currently voting to elect the next Pope is settled for $10 million

Cardinal Roger Mahony is accused of covering for a confessed paedophile

Firefighters place the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel, where cardinals will gather to elect the new Pope

Pray for Cardinals as they elect new Pope, Archbishop of Westminster urges British Catholics

Roman Catholic leaders in Britain have called on the faithful to pray for the cardinals gathered in Rome on the eve of the conclave to elect a new pope.

The Anglican Church has welcomed its new leader today with a ceremony in St Paul’s that officially marks Justin Welby’s election to Archbishop of Canterbury

Welby’s call on welfare puts IDS on the defensive

Archbishop of Canterbury says children will be pushed into poverty by Government’s proposals

Phony cleric breaks cardinal rule by trying to sneak in Rome congregation ahead of conclave to elect new Pope

An Italian man almost managed to sneak into a private meeting of Catholic officials in Rome yesterday after dressing as a cardinal.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform