Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II will express regret about bitter religious conflicts of the past when they meet in the Vatican next month.
    Unlike meetings with other heads of state, the Pope is conscious that when he welcomes the Queen he will also be receiving the supreme governor of the Church of England.
    In an exchange of written statements which will be released when they hold private talks in the the Pope's library in the Vatican, the two are expected to reveal their sorrow about misdeeds committed in the names of both their churches.
    In 1998, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales authorised a human rights statement which summed up Catholic thinking on the subject. "It must also be acknowledged," it said, "that in the name of the Catholic religion terrible wrongs were done, for example, to Protestants at the time of the Reformation in Great Britain as elsewhere."
    The meeting will be the third between the Queen and Pope John Paul II. She visited the Vatican in 1980 in the first full state visit by a British monarch. Two years later the Pope made his historic pastoral journey to Britain. This visit to the Vatican will take place during a state visit to Italy.
    Its detailed planning will begin today when a small delegation from Buckingham Palace travels to Rome. A source indicated that the Queen would reciprocate any expression of sorrow made by the Pope for the conflicts of the past.
4 Sep 00

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