The Archbishop of Canterbury warned yesterday that damaging infighting over women bishops and gay priests could result in a permanent split in the Anglican Communion.
Dr Rowan Williams stressed that he did not "want or relish" the prospect of division. He called on the Church of England and Anglicans worldwide to step back from a "betrayal" of God's mission and to put the work of Christ before schism.
But he conceded that, unless Anglicans could find a way to live with their differences over women bishops and homosexual ordination, the Church would change shape and become a multi-tier communion of different levels -- a schism in all but name.
In an historic and wide-ranging address to the General Synod -- the Church of England's parliament -- he linked his Church's divisions to similar battles in the secular world, such as the assisted-dying debate and the Equality Bill that is currently going through Parliament.
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