The gay bishop at the heart of the Anglican Church’s dispute over homosexuality is being treated for alcoholism.

New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, whose ordination in 2003 enraged conservative Anglicans and threatened to break up the church, revealed his problems in a letter on his diocese’s website.

He said he had checked into an alcohol treatment centre for a month.

“I will be dealing with the disease of alcoholism which for years I have thought of as a failure of will or discipline on my part rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop drinking altogether,” he said.

Bishop Robinson’s ordination and the blessing of same-sex marriages by the Canadian church sparked a crisis in the 450-year-old worldwide Anglican community.