Rowan Williams, in an interview with The Times of London, said traditional and historic "standards" prevent the consecration of sexually active homosexuals at the present time. Williams attempted to make the Rev. Jeffrey Johns, a gay man in a relationship, bishop of Reading several years ago.
Williams, before becoming archbishop in 2002, openly supported gay clergy. The Times interview published online Saturday was his first statement on the subject since then.
His stand is likely to anger both conservatives and liberals, The Guardian said. Williams said that as archbishop he has duties that go beyond his personal views.
"I'm not elected on a manifesto to further this agenda or that," he said. "I have to be someone who holds the reins for the whole debate. 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. So there's always a question about the personal life of the clergy."