US Episcopal Church Says More Interested in Decline than Growth

By Peter J. Smith

NEW YORK, November 21, 2006 ( – Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to head the US Episcopal Church (ECUSA), has adopted a unique vision for the Episcopal church: a church not “interested in replenishing their ranks by having children.”

In an interview with New York Times Magazine, Bishop Jefferts Schori conjectured that the Episcopal Church’s now only 2.2 million faithful “used to be larger percentagewise”. However now, she says,“Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.”

The response provoked this query from NYT reporter Deborah Solomon: “Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?”

“No. It’s probably the opposite,” responded Jefferts Schori. “We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.”

However, Jefferts Schori’s assertion that Catholics, Mormons and those with large families have more children simply because they are not “better educated” has provoked criticism from Catholics, who point out that while the Bishop, a former oceanographer who has worked with “octopuses and squids”, advocates a diminishing population for her church, it would not be something she would view as healthy for marine populations of squids and octopi.

Domenico Bettinelli, jr, discovered that Jeffert Schori’s “better educated” remark may have actually been a “botched joke” much like Sen. John F. Kerry’s remarks that those who didn’t have college educations went into the military or got “stuck in Iraq.” Outraged troops in Iraq replied with a sign saying, “HALP US JON CARRY - WE R STUCK HEAR N IRAK.”

“Bishopess (sic) Katherine Jefferts Schori seems to suffer from the same foot-in-mouth problem as Sen. John Kerry, but if her self-satisfied moral and intellectual superiority gives her comfort as she contemplates the barrenness and decline of the Episcopal Church, she’s welcome to it,” said Domenico Bettinelli, jr, former editor of Catholic World Report, who posted on his website an image of a large Catholic family at a wedding with the words “Halp us Bish-up Kate wee R Catlick”.

“As Catholics we’re too busy having, raising, and especially loving our children to worry about such things, added Bettinelli. “And when my kids are paying for the good bishopess’s Social Security in 30 years, I won’t hold it against her.”

A huge rift looms over Jefferts Schori’s head, as her election has signaled to US conservative Episcopalians that the ECUSA will continue to push a pro-homosexual agenda. The Christian Post reports the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield has urged his diocese to vote to split from ECUSA saying, “The Episcopal Church has become an apostate to the point of heresy.” Also, Bishop Iker of Fort Worth and six other American bishops have asked Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Communion, to appoint a separate leader for their dioceses, instead of Jefferts Schori.

Whether or not Catholic or Mormon families “use more than their portion”, Jefferts Schori’s vision of a declining Episcopal population only means that there will be more to go around.

See the NYT interview with Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at:

See Domenico Bettinelli’s “Halp us Bish-up Kate wee R Catlick” at:

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