subject of enormous attention in the Episcopalian press in thernlast three years, as it serves to discredit the idea of an ordainedrn(and still predominantly male) ministry. It also supports thernview that the church exploits and oppresses women, whose positionrnmust be reformed through theological and doctrinalrnchange.rnNone of these views, however outre or apparently unacceptable,rnwill draw the slightest complaint from the church’s hierarchy,rnbecause virtually anything goes and because the radicalrnand feminist activists have so firmly established themselvesrnin the leadership. To anyone who wonders what the EpiscopalrnChurch stands for, the answer in the 1990’s is “almost anything.”rnIn fairness, though, not all views are beyond criticism. Therernremain a handful of doctrines and practices that still attract thernire of the mainline (that is, liberal) Episcopalian hierarchy andrnits publications, which sometimes feature headlines complainingrn”Episcopal Authority Defied in Virginia!”—a recentrnbanner from Episcopal Life. However, the subversives and dissidentsrnstigmatized are invariably conservatives or traditionalists,rnthose ignorant obscurantists who obey what the church hasrnsaid and practiced over the last few centuries. These malignantsrngo so far as to refuse to ordain women or to recognizernsuch ordinations, and the columns of the Episcopalian pressrnregularly denounce the misplaced tolerance that permits thernsurvival of such gross heresy. If they do not like the church’srnrules, let them go elsewhere! The conservative Episcopal Synodrnof America occupies a place in liberal demonology comparablernto that of the “Liquor Interest” in Baptist sermons of arnprevious generation.rnAll of which raises the fundamental problem of numbers.rnReading the Episcopal press suggests that the average churchrnmember is a strong feminist, believes in homosexual marriage,rnand wants the church to direct its primary efforts to fightingrnracism and saving the environment. Unfortunately, the pewsrnare full of unenlightened individuals with more traditionally definedrnreligious concerns. In 1991, a poll by The Living Churchrnfound overwhelming (80-90 percent) opposition amongrnpracticing Episcopalians to most aspects of the radical agenda,rnespecially to ordaining noncelibate homosexuals or tornconsecrating homosexual marriages.rnThe further the leadership pushes, the more it is likely to encouragerndesertions that will hasten the collapse begun in thern1960’s. Trahison des clercs, indeed. Within two decades, thernEpiscopal Church is likely to be an ideologically impeccablerngroup devoted to whatever progressive causes happen to be majorrnfads at the time. It may also have a membership aboutrnequal to that of the Amish, and with as much influence onrnsecular affairs. Unless matters change very soon, a onee-greatrnAmerican church will become a fringe sect, vulnerable to endlessrnschisms over niceties of political orthodoxy. The worstrnthing is that many of the activists causing this disaster wouldrnprobably applaud this drift to sectarian irrelevance.rnrnProgressrnby Peter RussellrnVenice,rn24th November 1965rnWalk at large into the great searnWhere the dolphin leaps and the sea-pig plays on the tide.rnWhere the still moon at midnight lights a myriad stepsrnAzure and jet and phosphorescent up to the sky.rnAnd the weightless sandolo glides silent all night.. .rnRomantic image of lovers drifting alonernThrown back in the sea like a poisonous fishrnWhile the Poet goes on his endless alarming journeyrnMoonbeam by moonbeam sphere by concentric spherernInto the cosmic rain of the infinite mindrnLeaving behind the drag of atomic reactorsrnAnd the lame excursus of mathematicsrnBuilding a model of all elliptical spacernHouse by house in the hollow cave of his headrnLike a young rhetor learning a maiden speechrnLike an old philosopher visiting scenes of his youthrnFor the last time before the guards come inrnAnd the cruel rope is stretched round Boethius’ head.rn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn