The issue of the ordination of homosexual clergy could signal a vertical split in the Anglican Church, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, says.
Earlier this month Episcopal bishops in the US chose to press ahead with the ordination of homosexual priests and bishops - effectively overturning a ban on the practice.
The decision might have pushed the 80 million-strong global church to the brink of an irrevocable split, many apprehend.
Traditionalists in the US and Canada have already formed a rival province to the Episcopal Church to resist against the liberal tide.
Now the British Archbishop is also expressing his concern, but he has also hinted at a possible new Anglican structure that would allow local churches to loosen their ties with the main church body.
"This has been called a 'two-tier' model, or, more disparagingly, a first- and second-class structure. But perhaps we are faced rather with the possibility of the two-track model, two ways of witnessing to the Anglican heritage," he wrote on his official website.
Dr Williams has previously championed the creation of an Anglican Covenant that would set down the rules of continued membership of the denomination, but he now seems to be admitting his defeat.
He said, "It helps to be clear about these possible futures, however much we think them less than ideal, and to speak about them not in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication but plainly as what they are - two styles of being Anglican."
The two tracks of the church would maintain close relations where they shared common ground, but would be free to follow their own consciences on issues like homosexuality "with greater integrity and consistency".
Dr Williams used the piece to reiterate that Anglican objections to gay clergy and same-sex blessings, which were approved by the Episcopal church (TEC) of the US.
The question of homsexuality has been the most prominent dividing line in the church since the TEC elected the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.
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