Christianity's top 11 most controversial figures

The Staggers presents its list of most intriguing and contentious Christians: includes Popes, conspi

To add a little context to the wider debate surrounding Benedict XVI's visit to the UK on 16 September, we profile 11 christians (one for each disciple, less the paradoxically condemned Judas) that have provoked controversy, shaped the course of history, and given rise to important questions about the role of religion in society.

And they are:

1. Martin Luther - The original protestant

2. Henry VIII - The Tudor megalomaniac

3. Pope Urban II - Eleventh century Dr. Death

4. Guy Fawkes - Britain's number one conspirator

5. Joan of Arc - The bad-girl of French Catholicism

6. Thomas Cranmer - The craftsmen of royal supremacy

7. Pope Urban VIII - Inquisitor extraordinaire

8. Thomas More - Enemy of the State

9. Pope Pius XII - Hitler's Pope

10. Pope Pius IX - The Anti-semite

11. Jerry Falwell - The televangelist

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The Brexit deal and all the other things Liam Fox finds “easiest in human history”

The international trade secretary is an experienced man. 

On the day of a report warning a no deal Brexit could result in prices rises, blocked ports and legal chaos, international trade secretary Liam Fox emerged to reassure the nation. 

He told BBC Radio 4: "If you think about it, the free trade agreement that we will have to come to with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.” 

Since his colleague, Brexit secretary David Davis, described Brexit negotiations as more complicated than the moon landings, this suggests we are truly lucky in the calibre of our top negotiating team. 

Just for clarification, here is the full Davis-Fox definition of easy:

Super easy: Tudor divorce

All Henry VIII had to do was break away from the Catholic Church, kickstart the Reformation, fuel religious wars in Europe, and he was married to his second wife. And his third, fourth, fifth and sixth. Plus the Henry VIII clauses are really handy for bypassing parliament in 2017.

Easy: Tea Act 1773

American colonialists were buying smuggled tea, when they could have bought East India tea instead. Luckily, the British Prime Minister Lord North, found a way to deal with the problem in a single bill. Sorted.

Bit tricky: Appeasement

So what if Neville Chamberlain had never been on an airplane before? It's hardly a moon landing. And he got peace in our time. Although he was forced to resign in 1940. Not quite as easy as he thought. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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