A proposal that Queen Elizabeth join in symbolic prayer with John Paul II during her state visit to the Vatican next week has been dropped after concerns that it would upset factions in the Church of England, the Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday.
    The move, which would have seen the supreme governor of the Church in England praying with the head of Roman Catholicism, would have been interpreted as a hugely significant act of reconciliation following nearly 500 years of division since Henry VIII split with Rome.
    Sources indicated that the plan for private prayers was supported by both Buckingham Palace and the Vatican. But the plan was dropped following fears that it would annoy extreme Protestants and Anglo-Catholics within the Church of England and reopen sensitivities concerning the queen's role as head of the established church, the newspaper said.
    George Carey, the archbishop of Canterbury, was not consulted over the proposal for prayers, the paper said. The Queen will now have a private audience, lasting no more than half an hour, with the Pope in the Vatican next Tuesday, the paper reported.
    British monarchs have paid state visits to the Vatican several times over the last 100 years, the first being by King Edward VII in 1903, but always on the level of courtesy calls between heads of state, the Guardian said. The Queen visited John XXIII in 1961 and John Paul II in 1980, and the two also met at Buckingham Palace in during the papal visit in 1982, the daily noted.
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13 Oct 00

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