Speaking to the BBC World Service, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has again slammed conservative Anglicans who, he says, are obsessed by gays instead of tackling vital African issues like HIV/AIDS and human rights.

In the interview, he described the Anglican Church’s ongoing internal fighting over gay priests and same-sex marriage – which is threatening to split its global unity – as “an extraordinary obsession”.

“We’ve, it seems to me, been fiddling whilst as it were our Rome was burning. At a time when our continent has been groaning under the burden of HIV/Aids, of corruption,” he told the BBC.

“There are so many issues crying out for concern and application by the church of its resources, and here we are, I mean, with this kind of extraordinary obsession,” he said.

Tutu also expressed his disappointment over the lack of a strong and critical response by African leaders and the church to the human rights and political crisis in Zimbabwe.

The 76 year old Tutu has long been a vocal supporter of gay and lesbian rights.

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