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The wages of virtue

Any pupil considering a career in the clergy should be warned the rewards are more spiritual than financial: the average parish priest makes around Pounds 18,480 a year for a post where he or she might be on duty round-the-clock.

However, benefits - including a free house with all bills paid - are worth another pound;15,000. Clergymen also have a non-contributory pension.

But few C of E priests - who have to give up their house if they move to a new parish - can hope to earn much more.

Leading bishops receive around pound;33,310, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, earns pound;61,360, far less than top headteachers, who can now take home pound;120,000 - although the Archbishop's palace and chauffeur may soften the blow.

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