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Apparently sensing a growth opportunity, Pope Benedict XVI has created a new structure to streamline Roman Catholic membership for Anglicans jilted by their church's recent decision to elect openly gay bishops.
In an unusual move for the Vatican, the new structure will allow Anglicans to maintain their religious identity while joining the Catholic church, reports the Associated Press.
"The new church structure, called Personal Ordinariates, will be units of faithful within the local Catholic Church headed by former Anglican prelates who will provide spiritual care for Anglicans who wish to become Catholic," AP reports.
Cardinal William Levada, the chief doctrinal official for the Vatican, made the announcement at a news conference, according to the news service.
"Levada said the new canonical structure is a response to the many requests that have come to the Vatican over the years from Anglicans who have become increasingly disillusioned with the ordination of women, the election of openly gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions in the 77-million strong Anglican Communion," AP reports. "He declined to give figures on the number of requests that have come to the Vatican, or on the anticipated number of Anglicans who might take advantage of the new structure."