Archbishop Tutu was in London to address a conference organised by the Christian charity Tearfund.
“God is weeping to see such a focus on sexuality and the Church is quite rightly seen by many as irrelevant on the issue of poverty,” said Archbishop Tutu. “It may be good to accept that we agree to differ on the gay issue.”
Archbishop Tutu told the conference that the Anglican Church was ideally placed to tackle poverty because of its presence at the heart of communities in the UK and overseas.
However, he said he sometimes felt ashamed of his fellow Anglicans as they focussed obsessively on trying to resolve their disagreement about homosexuality, while 30,000 people died each day because of poverty.
“We really will not be able to win wars against so-called terror as long as there are conditions that make people desperate, and poverty, disease and ignorance are amongst the chief culprits,” he said.
Archbishop Tutu also accused some of his fellow Anglicans of going against the teaching of Jesus in their treatment of homosexual people by “persecuting the already persecuted”.