A Church of England vicar who has threatened a split over same-sex unions has suggested that gay pride encourages child abuse.

Rev Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St Mark’s in Tunbridge Wells, has been at the centre of a feud in the Church over LGBT issues, last week forming a new group that could be used to orchestrate a formal split in the case of the church green-lighting blessings for gay partnerships.

He said at the time: “If senior leaders of the Church of England water down the teaching of the Church of England on key issues like homosexuality, then this synod could easily evolve in to a new Anglican jurisdiction in England.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled that he is aware of the possibility that a significant proportion of the church will not accept a change in the church’s teaching. This could be the beginning of that playing out.”

However, the vicar’s own personal views are now under the magnifying glass, after KentLive reported he had made shocking comments.

Responding to a Facebook post from the Diocese of Chichester advertising a Pride event last month, the vicar shockingly appeared to suggest it would encourage more child abuse.

Dr Sanlon said: “Given your diocese has one of the worst records on historic child abuse in the c of e, and even now has a special procedure of investigation to discover what went on and who in addition to the bishop currently in prison was involved- one would think your diocese would have the humility and wisdom to stop pushing sexual boundaries.

“Have you not done enough damage to the church of England?”

After being challenged on the views, he responded: “It is a matter of fact that Chichester is pushing boundaries in sexuality. Whether or not a docese infamous for its sexual abuse is wise to do so – Ill [sic] leave that for others to determine.

“There is a difference is breaching the law of the state in sexuality as a previous bishop of Chichester did – and encouraging people to break Biblical and ecclesiastical standards.

“The former can land you in prison, the latter wont. But both are pushing boundaries and both will be given an accounting before God’s judgement throne.”

Pro-LGBT groups within the Church have reacted with shock to the comments.