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About 100 traditionalist Anglican parishes across the United States have decided to convert en masse to the Roman Catholic Church, it emerged yesterday

They have voted to take up the offer made by Pope Benedict XVI in November that permits vicars and their entire congregations to defect to Rome while keeping many of their Anglican traditions, including married priests.

By issuing the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (on groups of Anglicans) the Pope was accused of attempting to poach Anglicans unhappy about decisions taken in their Church to ordain women and sexually-active homosexuals as priests and bishops.

But the Vatican insisted that the move to create self-governing “personal ordinariates”, which resemble dioceses in structure, came as a result of requests from at least 30 disaffected Anglican bishops around the world for “corporate reunion” with the Catholic Church.

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