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Anglican Leader Provokes Catholic Church

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Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England, angered Irish Catholic leaders over the weekend by saying the Roman Catholic Church had lost all credibility over the way it handled child sex-abuse allegations.

Williams spoke about the crisis engulfing the Catholic church during an interview taped with the BBC on March 26, according to CBC News.

"I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who was saying that it's quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now," said Williams in the interview.

"And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society, suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility -- that's not just a problem for the church, it is a problem for everybody in Ireland, I think," he said.

The interview was scheduled to air Monday but Rowan's comments were published online Saturday, and prompted the ire of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, according to CBC News.

Williams reportedly called Martin afterward to express regret for the remarks, although it remained unclear whether Martin interpreted the call as an apology.

The Church of England and the Vatican experienced tensions in the past year when Pope Benedict XVI offered fast-track conversions to Catholicism for Anglicans dissatisfied over issues such as the ordination of openly gay clergy and women.

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