gay bishop Gene Robinson says in an open letter, he will pray for Pope Francis

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[Christianity Today] The world's most prominent gay bishop  has written an open letter to Pope Francis after the Vatican signalled that it was unhappy with some of those invited to a star-studded White House party being thrown for the Pope this week by President Barack Obama.

Bishop Gene Robinson, former Bishop of New Hampshire, said he knew he would not be the first gay bishop the Pope had met, as some "undoubtedly" work with and for Pope Francis in the Vatican.

Pope Francis leaves Cuba on Tuesday for Washington, where the gay, twice-married and now twice-divorced former Bishop of New Hampshire  is among those invited to a celebration party. The Vatican is understod to have disputed the guest list, which as well as Bishop Robinson, a father of two who divorced his wife in 1986 and his husband last year, includes an activist nun and some transgender campaigners. They are among 15,000 guests who will assemble on the lawn of the White House on Wednesday morning.

The Wall Street Journal reported: "The tension exemplifies concerns among conservative Catholics, including many bishops, that the White House will use the pope's visit to play down its differences with church leaders on such contentious issues as same-sex marriage and the contraception mandate in the health care law."

The election of Bishop Robinson, who retired in 2013, as Bishop of New Hampshire in the US Episcopal Church, was among the events that triggered the crisis that engulfed the Anglican Communion. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has summoned the 37 other Primates from the separate provinces to a meeting in January to debate whether a loosening of ties towards a federal model might be a way forward to preserve unity. Read More here on Christianity Today

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