One of the most senior figures in the Anglican Church has told fellow bishops to end their obsession with gay priests and start behaving more like Christians.
Speaking on the eve of a crisis summit in London, called to stave off the threat of a breakaway church, the Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of Southern Africa spoke out against hardline opponents of homosexuality.
The Most Reverend Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane described the issue as a dangerous distraction from the HIV pandemic and warfare in Africa and the Middle East. Religious hang-ups about sexual issues, he said, are allowing thousands of unnecessary deaths from Aids.
The Archbishop is one of 38 Anglican primates called to attend this week's meeting at Lambeth Palace amid the most serious crisis in the church since the introduction of women priests.
Fundamentalists have been enraged by what they perceive as growing tolerance of homosexuality in the Anglican Church, led by the liberal Dr Rowan Williams, and some have threatened schism.
Their concern has been fuelled by a series of episodes, including the failed attempt to make Canon Jeffrey John suffragan bishop of Reading and the appointment of Canon Gene Robinson, a practisising homosexual, as the Bishop of New Hampshire.
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