A retired Anglican archbishop has been disciplined and had his licence to officiate marriages revoked after admitting he had blessed a lesbian marriage last summer, reports the BBC.

The fact that bishop Finlay officiated the marriage comes as a particular surprise as it was he who dismissed a priest back in the 1992 for having a homosexual relationship.

The change in opinion comes after Rev Jim Ferry was sacked and banned from functioning as a priest anywhere in the Anglican communion by bishop Finlay.

Finlay said the Church was very different back then, and he had reached a new understanding of homosexuality.

One of the lesbians has known Finlay since she was a child, her father having been Finlay’s theology professor.

The revoking of Archbishop Finlay’s licence by the New Westminster Diocese in the Canadian Church has contributed to the crisis facing the worldwide Anglican Church.

The church is currently struggling to develop consensus and unite opinion over same sex marriage and gay clergy.

In 2003 openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson was elected in New Hampshire, amidst protest from traditionalist church leaders.

Next month will see Rev Katharine Schori, a pro-gay liberal, consecrated in the National Cathedral in Washington.

Rev Schori will be the first woman to sit alongside the other 38 primates of the Anglican Church when they meet in Tanzania, February 2007.