The cables were sent from the Vatican embassy in Washington and describe a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, The Guardian reported Saturday.
The cables said the British ambassador to the Vatican warned that the pope's invitation to Anglican opponents of female priests to convert to Catholicism en mass was inflammatory, and could lead to discrimination and violence against Catholics in Britain.
The cables said the surprise move by the Vatican placed Williams in an "impossible situation," and "Anglican-Vatican relations were facing their worst crisis in 150 years as a result of the pope's decision."
Among other things, the cables said U.S. diplomats thought the pope was instrumental in securing the release of 15 British sailors captured and held by Iran in 2007, and that the Vatican refused to let its officials testify before an Irish commission investigating the abuse of children by priests.
A cable also said the pope is responsible for the Vatican's resistance to Turkey joining the European Union, and that it wanted a reference to Europe's "Christian roots" included in the EU constitution.