Church of England bishops have drawn up plans for a “rule book” of beliefs that would expel liberals who refuse to abide by it.
The proposals to introduce Papal-style laws come despite warnings that they could lead to a split in the Church.
The confidential document from the House of Bishops, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, claims that a “narrower definition of Anglican belief” is crucial to prevent the Anglican Communion from becoming embroiled in future disputes over issues such as homosexual clergy.
The paper reveals the determination at the highest levels of the Church to impose powers to quash dissenters, backing a covenant – or set of rules – that would block Anglican clergy from pursuing liberal and potentially divisive policies.
There is no official policy that governs the clergy’s behaviour, but instead each of the world’s 38 Anglican provinces is autonomous.