Pope John Paul II on Thursday said the ordination of women in the Anglican Church poses "serious obstacles" to relations with the Roman Catholic Church.

In a year-end address to cardinals, the pope, speaking with "sincere pain," deplored a resolution adopted by the world's Anglican bishops in August.The Anglican bishops voted 423-28 with 19 abstentions to maintain links with any of their 27 self-governing churches that consecrate a woman bishop, even if they disagree with the practice. The measure was a compromise to avoid dividing the Anglican Communion on the issue.

The pope said the action "poses serious obstacles to that progress in reciprocal reconciliation, which in the course of recent decades has arrived at such promising results."