Dr Williams acknowledged that traditionalists who cannot accept Church of England plans to ordain women bishops were in “considerable confusion and distress”.
But the Pope’s offer to accommodate disaffected Anglicans would leave the Church with “practical challenges” as vicars leave and churches lose worshippers, he said.
Dr Williams’s comments came in his first media interview since The Daily Telegraph disclosed that five Anglican bishops were to join a new section of the Roman Catholic Church established by Pope Benedict XVI.
The new structure, known as the English Ordinariate, is expected to begin operation early next year. It will allow traditionalist Anglo-Catholics who oppose recent liberal reforms in the Church of England to enter into full communion with Rome while retaining some of their Anglican traditions.
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