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Pope presides over rare meeting of cardinals


More than 100 cardinals from around the world are gathering for a rare meeting Friday in the Vatican to discuss, among other things, Anglican conversions and sexual abuse scandals.

Hosted by Pope Benedict XVI, the meeting will also look at growing concern over the persecution of Christians in some countries.

After the talks, 24 new cardinals are to be named in the Pope’s third consistory.

Friday’s meeting comes on the heels of a meeting between the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, following the defection of five Church of England bishops to Catholicism.

The Catholic church last year unveiled a controversial new juridical framework that made it easier for Anglicans to join Catholic ranks.

Meanwhile the German Episcopal Conference announced Friday that the Pope is to make an official visit to his native Germany in the second half of 2011.

The pontiff will travel to the archdioceses of Berlin and Freiburg, in the south-west of the country, and the diocese of Erfurt, in the former communist east.