British Church invites visit from Pope Benedict


Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Catholic Conference of Bishops in England and Wales has invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit Britain; an act which recalls the historic 1982 visit of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

A statement, released this week from the office of the Archbishop of Westminster said that Cardinal O’Connor wanted the Pope to “be aware of how delighted the British people would be, should he feel able to accept” the invitation.

The statement was quick to add however, that it was too early to know whether the Holy Father’s schedule would permit, or what a visit might consist of.

Watchers have observed that the invitation comes at a time when the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Anglicans--or Church of England--is particularly uncertain.

The Anglican church is currently facing massive debates over the ordination of female bishops as well as the communion’s view on homosexuality.

During his own visit, John Paul II was the first Pope ever to visit the Cathedral of Canterbury, which is the center of the Anglican church. His visit was said to greatly further relations between the two churches.

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