The archbishop of the Church of England is leaving office after a decade as the spiritual leader of the world's 80 million-strong Anglican Communion.
The Church of England's governing body on Tuesday narrowly blocked a move to permit women to serve as bishops, leaving the church facing more years of contentious debate.
The Church of England says that a decision to select the new archbishop of Canterbury — the spiritual leader of the 80-million-strong global Anglican communion — could still be months away.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is stepping down at the end of the year, calling an end to a tumultuous decade as leader of a global Anglican Communion that has been sharply divided over sexuality and gender.
Queen Elizabeth II has stressed the importance of family and friendship in her annual, pre-recorded Christmas message to the nation.
Police raided a garbage depot and arrested street cleaners in a suspected terror plot against Pope Benedict XVI on Friday. Undeterred, the pontiff stuck to his message, reaching across Britain's religious and secular divide to demand a greater role for faith in public life.