LEEDS, England, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in England and Wales have begun their first joint meeting.
The 2-day conference includes discussion of some of the issues dividing the two churches, including the ordination of women, ordination of gays and the Anglican rejection of clerical celibacy, The Times of London reported.
The meeting was scheduled to honor the 40th anniversary of a meeting between Pope Paul VI and Michael Ramsey, archbishop of Canterbury. That audience led to the creation of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.
The current archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is to travel to Rome after the conference for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.
Women's ordination, first adopted by the Episcopal Church in the United States, is now recognized by several churches in the Anglican Communion, including the Church of England but not by the Catholic church. The U.S. church's consecration in 2003 of an openly gay bishop has widened the rift with the Catholics.