Archbishop Desmond Tutu has criticised his own church for being "obsessed" with homosexuality.
The South African Nobel laureate said God "must be weeping" at seeing that the Church had such misplaced priorities. He also criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for not demonstrating the attributes of a "welcoming God".
Speaking on a BBC Radio 4 programme, the archbishop, 76, said: "Our world is facing problems - poverty, HIV and Aids, a devastating pandemic, and conflict. In the face of all of that, our Church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality."
Tutu said the Anglican Church had appeared "extraordinarily homophobic" during the debate over whether Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, should become the Bishop of New Hampshire.
Tutu said he felt "saddened" and "ashamed" of his church at that time.
When asked if he still felt ashamed, he said: "If we are going to not welcome or invite people because of sexual orientation yes. If God as they say is homophobic I wouldn't worship that God."
He also rebuked religious conservatives who say that homosexuality is a choice gay people make.
He said: "It is a perversion if you say to me that a person chooses to be homosexual. You must be crazy to choose a way of life that exposes you to a kind of hatred. It's like saying you choose to be black in a race -hate infected society."Criticising Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Tutu said: "Why doesn't he demonstrate a particular attribute of God's, which is that God is a welcoming God?"