The choice of a successor to Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury may not take place for several months, the Church of England has said. Officials reiterated that the work of choosing a successor could go on throughout the autumn. This follows intense speculation that the Crown Nominations Commission had failed to agree a candidate. Officials stressed that the group had all of autumn to decide, conceding only that it would want to avoid having no-one to replace Dr Williams when he steps down at the end of the year.

I am not surprised. In fact, I cannot see how any decision can ever be made concerning the next archbishop of Canterbury.

The evangelical party of the Church of England believes that it is now the most powerful grouping in the Church of England. They have hardcore members on the Crown Nominations Commission, including a shrink who believes gay people can be "cured." There is no way their representatives are going to allow the election of an archbishop who believes that sex between two people of the same gender is not a sin if it takes place within the same bounds of fidelity as sex between two people of opposite gender. The problem is that everyone else believes that, unless we are to become a fundamentalist denomination dominated by the cultural norms and prejudices of the so-called Global South churches, the full inclusion of gay people within society and the church must be achieved under the next watch. Another ten years of prevarication will lose the Church of England any residual respect it may enjoy within the wider British society. Ten years of an archbishop of Canterbury determined to impose evangelical theology and morality on everybody will end up with the Church of England becoming a sect of evangelicals plus those who just don't care about theology and the concerns of anybody else except themselves (which, let's face it, is probably the majority of the membership).

To put it bluntly, the evangelical party will not back down this time, nor will they accept an evangelical archbishop who is not 100% dedicated to turning the Church of England into a "Bible-based" sect and getting rid of "the gay problem" by getting rid of gay people from the church. Other members of the Commission, those who are not evangelicals, will be fighting tooth and nail to stop such an eventuality because the church they love will disappear completely if the evangelicals get what they want. So, no decision is possible.

It's ironic that of the people who remained within the Church of England following the Act of Uniformity, those who were most adversely affected by the imposed conformity of the act, were the Puritans, the theological and ethical forebears of an evangelical party within the church now determined to impose their own invented orthodoxy and orthopraxis upon everyone else. You might think they would have learnt tolerance from their own experience of exclusion. Instead it appears they just want revenge and their turn at telling everyone else what they should believe and how they should behave.