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Royal concern over bishop

The Queen is reported to be "deeply concerned" about divisions in the Church of England over the appointment of the openly gay Canon Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading.

Twice in the past fortnight she has raised the matter with Tony Blair at their weekly private audiences, The Sunday Telegraph reported. The Queen had asked the Prime Minister whether it was appropriate for her to rubber-stamp Dr John's appointment and had discussed ways of helping to solve the crisis, the newspaper said. A senior Buckingham Palace official said: "As a senior lay figure in the Church and as somebody with her own deep faith, which she has spoken about on many occasions, the Queen is aware of the divisions that have arisen and is deeply concerned." Although she has formally approved Dr John's appointment, she feels the matter has to be resolved by the diocese, the official added. Meanwhile, pressure is mounting for an emergency General Synod debate.