British bishops in defection talks with Vatican

LONDON  — Three Church of England bishops traveled to Rome last week for talks with Vatican officials about joining the Catholic Church, according to two of the bishops involved.
The bishops told The Associated Press they went to the Vatican to find out more about Pope Benedict XVI's decision to invite disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church — a sensitive issue which has roiled relations between the two denominations and threatens to overshadow the pontiff's visit to London later this year.
The Vatican's spokesman said he had no information about the meeting.
Rev. Keith Newton, the bishop of Richborough, said the trip consisted of "nothing more than exploratory talks" and denied a report in The Sunday Telegraph that he and his colleagues had secretly promised the Vatican they were ready to defect to Rome.