News Archbishop Welby had previously spoken out against payday lenders such as Wonga

The  Church of England has appointed a New York-based specialist to screen its portfolio of assets in the wake of its embarrassing Wonga debacle last year.

Topless Christmas Day Femen protest in Cologne Cathedral slammed as ‘unnecessary disturbance’

Germany’s left-wing Green Party among those criticising anti-Catholic demonstration as ‘disrespectful’

Goldstein in 2003; as 'Screw' foundered, his fortunes declined and he became bankrupt

Al Goldstein: Founder of ‘Screw’ who dedicated his career to raging against religion and the establishment

Al Goldstein was the publisher of Screw magazine who smashed down US legal barriers against pornography and raged against politicians, organised religion and good taste.

Tim Berners-Lee invited an atheist minister to present Thought for the Day

Unholier than thou: BBC denies atheist traditional slot on Thought for the Day

Atheist minister says he had been invited by the founder of the worldwide web Sir Tim to present but had been blocked by BBC senior management

Papal blessing: Nothing can excuse the failures of the modern Catholic Church. But Pope Francis has made an impressive start

Francis has thrown open the Vatican windows and let in fresh air

Papal blessing: Nothing can excuse the failures of the modern Catholic Church. But Pope Francis has made an impressive start

Francis has thrown open the Vatican windows and let in fresh air

Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad kill 37 

The attacks bring the number of people killed so far in Iraq this month to 441

Pope Francis delivers his first

'I hope for a better world': Pope Francis calls for peace for Syria and dignity for refugees fleeing misery and conflict in Christmas Day speech

Pontiff spoke from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to some 70,000 cheering tourists, pilgrims and Romans in the square below

Prince George misses outing as Royal Family attended traditional Sandringham Christmas Day church service

Prince George stayed in the warm as the Royal Family attended their traditional Christmas Day church service.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Justin Welby

Archbishop of Westminster prays for Middle East Christians 'who suffer for their faith'

For many going to church is an act of life-risking bravery, he tells Christmas worshippers

Facebook and Twitter top twenty: The Independent stories you've been sharing this year

From drunken nights out with a llama to testicle-eating fishes, it’s a mixed bag of stories you’ve been sharing on social media in 2013.

Among the top twenty Independent articles you’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook this year, there are serious reports, ferocious comment pieces, astounding research and a fair few articles that pay tribute to the adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’

Lord Carey attacked Western governments for being “strangely and inexplicably reluctant to confront” the situation in the Middle East

Christians are under pressure to keep quiet about their faith, says former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey

Christians are under pressure to be “silent about their faith” and display “increasing timidity” about admitting they have a faith at work, according to Lord Carey.

Postcard from... Dubai

A worshipper lights candles at the Church of the Nativity

O’ empty town of Bethlehem: a trickle of visits to the site of Christ’s birth thanks to intifadas and ongoing tensions

Intifadas and ongoing tensions are keeping Christian pilgrims and tourists away from Bethlehem, says

Samantha Christensen, left, and Elise Larsen apply for a marriage license in the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office. On Friday, Utah became the 18th state in the nation to allow gay marriage, however the state is seeking an urgent appeal

Utah scrambles to halt same-sex marriages after surprise ruling overturns ban

Judge in Republican stronghold declared existing ban violated constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples

The northern lights or aurora borealis near the village of Vik, in southern Iceland.

Road project in Iceland delayed to protect 'hidden' elves

A road project has been stopped until the country's Supreme Court rules on a case to protect elves and the environment

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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas