Friday, October 30, 2009
By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press Writer – Fri Oct 30, 2:29 pm ET
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury next month in the leaders' first encounter since the Catholic church moved to make it easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert to Catholicism, a Vatican spokesman said Friday.
Archbishop Rowan Williams, the Anglican leader, was already due to visit Rome in November for ceremonies at a pontifical university to honor a late cardinal who worked for Christian unity, said the spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. Taking advantage of the archbishop's presence in Rome, Benedict will receive Williams on Nov. 21 at the Vatican, Lombardi said in a telephone interview.
The Vatican's move, announced last week, to ease Anglican conversions to Catholicism is designed to entice traditionalists opposed to women bishops, openly gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions in the church headed by Williams.
Given the surprise overture to potential converts, the talks between Benedict and Williams "take on a particularly important significance," said Lombardi. But he stressed that Williams has met with the pontiff during past trips to Rome and indicated that the two would have likely met even without the recent developments.