Thursday, May 6, 2010

Uproar? Open Revolt? I Doubt It.

People are always saying that the Pope has to work gradually and not do things by decree because of the problem of inciting episcopal "uproar" or a tantrum or "open revolt"...but what does that mean?

That gets to the heart of my critique of this Pope: why does he care? Does he worry they are going to do physical violence to him? Does he care so much about his colleagues opinion of him in the present moment that his feelings would be hurt? Does he need their votes in some sort of parliament so that he has to keep them appeased?

I mean, for crying out loud, he could remove them if they refused to enforce it (I'm sure good Catholics would inform the Vatican if a bishop was being defiant in their diocese). Why insist on that principle of Supremacy of Jurisdiction in theory (such a hurdle with the Orthodox) if he's never going to use it in practice?!

Why is he so afraid of all that? I don't see what the bishops could possibly do. Go into schism? I don't think legally they could take their property with them, which would probably make that unfeasible. The property in a diocese belongs to the bishop but US law, at least, recognizes corporate bylaws as legally binding. And so if the Pope removed a bishop canonically...US law would no longer recognize him as the bishop of that diocese (the replacement chosen by the Pope would be). And besides, the neocons, who usually have more of a "direct relationship with the Pope" than with their own Ordinary...would protest extremely.

So what exactly is he afraid of?

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