Pope defends invitation to Anglicans to convert

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has defended his decision to invite disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church by saying it is the “ultimate aim” of ecumenism.

Benedict told members of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that the invitation wasn’t an attack on the ecumenical movement, but on the contrary was designed to help bring about the “full and visible communion” of all Christians.

The Vatican in October announced it was making it easier for traditional Anglicans upset over women priests and gay bishops to join the Catholic Church while retaining many of their Anglican traditions, including married priests.

The move roiled the already divided 77-million Anglican Communion.