The Archbishop of Canterbury pulled out of the race for a top job at a Cambridge college because of a row over a senior gay cleric.
Rowan Williams announced last month he was stepping down as Archbishop and would become the Master of Magdalene College.
However, The Mail on Sunday has learned that he had originally been in the running to head rival Emmanuel College.Jeffrey John has been a thorn in ++Rowan's side throughout his tenure at Lambeth. If you want a textbook illustration of just why persons of homosexual persuasion are unfit for positions of leadership in the church, you need look no further than Jeffrey John. Aside from his obvious moral shortcomings, he lacks the one characteristic most necessary for elevation to the episcopacy, namely, humility.
But he withdrew after this newspaper revealed that Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, was threatening to sue Church leaders after being blocked from becoming a bishop.
Insiders say he feared the dispute could prove divisive within the liberal-leaning college, a number of whose members sympathise with Dr John.
Friends of Dr John blame Dr Williams for preventing his promotion because of his homosexuality.
In 2003, Dr Williams forced Dr John to step down as Bishop of Reading after it became known he was in a gay, though celibate, relationship.
Emmanuel is home to the liberal theologian Don Cupitt, and its chaplain, the Rev Jeremy Caddick, has blessed gay ‘marriages’ in defiance of Church policy. One insider said: ‘The atmosphere here is decidedly liberal. Many of us would share Jeffrey John’s point of view.’
Magdalene is regarded as a more traditional college.
Lambeth Palace refused to comment last night.