London, Jul 7: After US Episcopal Church elected a lesbian bishop, the Church of England is set to further split the global Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality as it is on the verge of promoting a gay priest to bishop.
This is especially significant in the backdrop of the recent development of the sanctions imposed on the US Episcopal Church for electing a lesbian bishop.
However, what is different about Very Rev Jeffrey John, who is being considered for elevation in the Church of England, is the fact that even though he has admitted to be gay, he has declared himself celibate.
His vow of celibacy, in line with the church teachings, makes him a more favourable candidate than the US bishop.
John reportedly also has the support of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Church of England and the world's Anglicans. However, the Williams' office did not confirm this report.
John withdrew seven years ago from an appointment as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the face of a heated controversy about his homosexuality.
A group called Inclusive Church was founded by people disappointed by John's failure to become a bishop in 2003. The group has received the reports' on John's possible elevation with a positive outlook.
"I think the strength of the opposition is much weaker this time," Rev Canon Giles Goddard, the chairman of Inclusive Church.