Plans put forward by Dr Rowan Williams urging a compromise over the issue were rejected last night by members of the General Synod, including some of his most senior bishops.
The last-ditch proposal was designed to prevent an exodus of traditionalist priests, who are now likely to defect to the Roman Catholic Church.
It represented a significant gamble by Dr Williams, who was heavily criticised by liberals last week after Dr Jeffrey John, the homosexual cleric, was blocked from becoming Bishop of Southwark. Dr John's nomination to the post was revealed by The Sunday Telegraph last week.
The failure by the archbishop to gain sufficient support for his plan is likely to be viewed as a further dent to his authority. Read more