Insights from the UK and beyond
The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams, backed gay people becoming bishops on Saturday as long as they remain celibate, risking more divisions within the Church on the issue.
Making one of the most explicit statements he has made on the subject, the head of the Church of England told The Times that he had "no problem" with their consecration. But he would not endorse gay clergy in active relationships because of tradition and historical "standards" that require celibacy, he said in the interview. (Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, February 11, 2009/Kieran Doherty)
He said he had to decide against endorsing gay relationships for clergy and bishops because "the cost to the Church overall was too great to be borne at that point."
"To put it very simply, there's no problem about a gay person who's a bishop. It's about the fact that there are traditionally, historically, standards that the clergy are expected to observe," Williams said.