The head of the Anglican church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, has had his first meeting with Pope Benedict the 16th since the head of the Catholic church offered refuge to Anglican dissidents a month ago.
Williams is in Rome for a conference of Christian leaders, as the Pope pursues his stated objective of forging Christian unity. However his offering conversion to Catholicism for Anglicans unable to accept church policy on gay marriage, and gay or female priests has angered some. The issues are dividing the Anglican church, in particular in Africa where there is disaffection at the more liberal policies of the church in Britain and its Episcopalian branch in the United States. Williams said the Vatican’s ban on female ordination was not as solidly grounded in theology as the core Christian doctrines the two churches did agree on. He added decades of dialogue meant the two denominations were now divided only on lesser issues of church organisation and authority.