London: The Church of England may be on the
verge of promoting a gay priest to bishop, a step that would
widen the split over sexuality in the global Anglican
If that happens, it would appear to be a significant
turnaround for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams,
spiritual leader of the Church of England and the world`s
Anglicans, who recently imposed sanctions on the US Episcopal
Church for electing a lesbian bishop.
According to newspaper reports, Williams is prepared to
back the elevation of the Very Rev Jeffrey John, who withdrew
seven years ago from an appointment as a suffragan (assistant)
bishop in the face of a heated controversy about his
homosexuality. Williams` office will not comment.
"I think the strength of the opposition is much weaker
this time," Rev Canon Giles Goddard, the chairman of Inclusive
Church, said today. His group was founded by people
disappointed by John`s failure to become a bishop in 2003.
- John, who is now dean of St Albans Cathedral, might be
seen as a more acceptable candidate than the US bishop because
he has declared he is celibate, and therefore not in violation
of church teaching.