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Pope To Visit UK Urges Church To Accept Anglicans




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Pope Benedict XVI confirmed Monday he would visit Britain later this year, a trip that has grown fraught following his move to welcome into the Roman Catholic Church groups of Anglicans upset over the ordination of gays and women.

No dates were announced. Officials at both the Vatican and in Britain say the visit is planned for September. It will the first papal visit to Britain since Pope John Paul II visited in 1982.

Benedict confirmed his plans in a speech to visiting British bishops, saying he hoped the trip would “strengthen and confirm” the faith of Catholics across the country.

He urged the bishops to help disaffected Anglicans who want to convert to Catholicism. “I am convinced that, if given a warm and openhearted welcome, such groups will be a blessing for the entire Church,” he said.

The Vatican announced last October it was making it easier for Anglicans to become Catholic, essentially creating independent dioceses for converts who could still maintain certain Anglican traditions, including having married priests.

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