Leaders of liberal churches have alternated between a Monty Python-esque "it's just a flesh wound!" bravado and a weird self-righteousness about their looming extinction. (In a 2006 interview, the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop explained that her communion's members valued "the stewardship of the earth" too highly to reproduce themselves.)
Our pope has taught that sins against the environment should be taken seriously by Catholics. I know many Roman Catholic couples who have felt compelled for religious reasons not to "bring up" the Catholic "number" by spawning large broods. But according to Douthat, their refusal to breed like church mice is the least of what's wrong with Episcopalians:
As a result, today the Episcopal Church looks roughly how Roman Catholicism would look if Pope Benedict XVI suddenly adopted every reform ever urged on the Vatican by liberal pundits and theologians. It still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows. But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.
What should be wished for, instead, is that liberal Christianity recovers a religious reason for its own existence ...Follow Indie Theology on Twitter.
Today, by contrast, the leaders of the Episcopal Church and similar bodies often don't seem to be offering anything you can't already get from a purely secular liberalism.