Money

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".

Editorial: The Archbishop's unseasonal note

It is a sad comment on the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales that the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, thought his Christmas sermon a suitable place to launch his fiercest attack so far on the Government's plans to legalise gay marriage. It might have been hoped that, at a time of joyful festivities, a time moreover when people of all religions and none are uniquely open to the Christian message, the prevailing tone from the pulpit would be one of generosity.

Archbishops of Canterbury and York to tweet sermons

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York will tweet their sermons for the first time today to “bring the meaning of Christmas to a new digital audience”.

Archbishop of Westminster attacks gay marriage plan

Leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England said there was no mandate to enforce same-sex marriage laws

Panic buying, Church warnings, sales brought forward, early mornings...it's Chriiiiistmaaaaaas!

Today is 'Manic Monday', where approximately £1.3 billion is expect to be spent on Christmas shopping.

Sentamu attacks UK defence cuts as risking 'the safety of the nation'

The Archbishop of York condemned the Government’s defence policy yesterday when he said cuts were putting the “safety of the nation and the peace of the world” at risk.

Page 3 Profile: Terry Waite, Peace envoy

Off to Lebanon, eh? Sounds like a fun trip.

Pope's secret files has been found revealing Vatican scandals

Poll: Is it beneath Pope Benedict XVI to engage with the masses on Twitter?

So His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has signed up for Twitter. Having settled on the snappy handle of @pontifex, the Vatican advised followers to note that tweets shouldn't be regarded as "infallible teachings". But they won't be Instagrammed LOLcats either - the Pope will use the account for live responses to questions about faith during his weekly general audience, starting December 12th.

In a rare intervention into religious matters, the PM said he was 'very sad' about the outcome

'Get with the programme': David Cameron condemns Church of England decision to block women bishops

In a rare intervention into religious matters, the PM said he was 'very sad' about the outcome

Church of England in crisis: Archbishop of Canterbury attacks members for voting against women bishops

Dr Rowan Williams admitted that the Church of England loses credibility every day it fails to approve women bishops

The women bishops vote was a profoundly emotional experience, and it ended in disaster

Andreas Whittam Smith was among those deliberating

Female Church of England clergy walk into the venue of the three-day

Supporters of women bishops expect their prayers to be answered at last

The General Synod votes today as the traditionalists make  a last-ditch stand

Rose Hudson-Wilkin: Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the 51-year-old has been widely tipped to become the first female Church of England bishop

Clergy demand women bishops ahead of General Synod

More than 1,000 clergy and senior laity back the historic move in an open letter to The Independent

Man who called for Blair to be arrested for war crimes fined £100

A protestor who interrupted Tony Blair’s evidence at the Leveson Inquiry in May has been fined £100.

Danny Rogers on PR: How to detoxify the CofE brand?

Gambling, misogyny, homosexuality were the themes around a major appointment last week. But this wasn't about an England football captain. It was a new Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Bishop of Durham, the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England, has accepted the post of Archbishop of Canterbury, according to reports

The worst-kept secret is out: Bishop of Durham the Rt Rev Justin Welby is confirmed as next Archbishop of Canterbury

He delivered his homily in ancient surroundings to a respectfully silent congregation but the freshly-minted 105th Archbishop of Canterbury could do nothing to avoid the noisy issues that haunted his predecessor and already risk defining his stint as leader of 77 million Anglicans worldwide.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there