With the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion already rocked by disagreements about sexuality and women bishops, the prospect of a further division between the Church of Englandís two archbishops will cause a shudder down many clerical spines.
But the noticeable divergence of views about England football captain David Beckham is thought unlikely to produce a lasting rift between Dr Rowan Williams, the Canterbury-based head coach of Established Church, and his highly-rated assistant Dr John Sentamu, a transfer from Birmingham to York last year.
Yesterday Dr Williams praised Beckham, who hopes to lead his country to World Cup victory in Germany, saying that he was as dependable and creative as a father as he was as a footballer.
In urging society to take fatherhood seriously in his TV interview on The Heaven and Earth show, the Archbishop of Canterbury ñ who must sometimes regret his move to England from being Church in Wales centre-forward ñ singled out Beckham's parenting skills along with those of Conservative leader David Cameron.
But less than a month ago, Ugandan-born Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, now a safe pair of hands alongside his ëbearded leftieí colleague in many Anglican goalmouth incidents, lambasted this same David Beckham for his lavish pre-World Cup party.
Dr Sentamu said that the estimated £500,000 charity fundraiser thrown by the English captain and his wife Victoria highlighted the gap between Britain's haves and have-nots.
Some 350 celebrities (plus Mr Cameron, who gatecrashed the event) paid £2,000 each to attend the function at ëBeckingham Palaceí.
Dr Sentamu confessed that he was a bit of a party animal himself, an accusation once also levelled at his Lord.
But he said that the Beckhamsí event was needlessly indulgent ñ and contrasted the plight of a Belfast hotel porter on a take-home pay of £131 for a 36 and a half hour week with the £103,000 paid by an entrepreneur in a charity auction for two tickets to the party.
At the time, Dr Williams had declined to give his own view on the Real Madrid and ex-Manchester United playmakerís extravagance, saying jovially that he ìmight be lynchedî if he did.
The ëWelsh wizardí, as Dr Williams is sometimes known in the penalty area, has now craftily engineered himself out of this ethical dilemma (and questions about whether he really wants England to win in Germany) by taking the family route to endorse the England captain.
Ekklesia understands that a secret summit may be held by the two archbishops and their press corps to hammer out a new theological perspective on what cynical tabloid hacks are calling ìthe tosh and Becks affairî.
It is strongly denied that the Anglican Communion is entering extra time and may decide to resolve its disputes on penalties.
See also Ekklesia's World Cup initiative, for both lovers and loathers of the game, Give Injustice the Red Card.