"The Vatican is loaning a deeply symbolic religious relic to a meeting in Britain discussing the future of the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion that has been badly divided over issues of female bishops and same-sex marriage.
The ivory top of the pastoral staff of St. Gregory the Great — the 6th-century pope who dispatched missionaries to England to spread Christianity — will be displayed in England's Canterbury Cathedral before and after the Jan. 11-16 meeting of Anglican primates.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has summoned the 37 primates to discuss how the Communion can keep working together after it has been splintering for years over issues such as the ordination of female and gay bishops and the blessings of same-sex marriage...
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican's culture minister, authorized the loan of Gregory's pastoral staff last month, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. He wrote that it was a 'highly symbolic' relic and a 'mark of the bond that spiritually unites the Catholic and the Anglican churches.'"
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