I know little about the relationship between the Holy Father and his bishops. But Stay: why do I call them "his" bishops? As Leo XIII stated, and Vatican II agreed, bishops are not Vicars of the Roman Pontiff. They, like him, are Successors of the Apostles. But it is praiseworthy that the Bishop of Rome takes such a careful brotherly interest even in his Venerable Brethren the Assistant bishops ... for example, in a new coadjutor bishop, for Albenga Imperia in Italy.
And I know even less about the rights and the wrongs in the 'emeritusing' of the bishops who fall foul of Rome ... but I am curious about the canonical procedures involved. Because it does not sound as if they all just resign.
When, years ago, the Bishop of Evreux was Got Rid Of in the time of S John Paul II, my recollection is that he was actually translated to a see in partibus infidelium, somewhere in the middle of the Sahara: I believe it may have had some such amusingly improbable name as Parthenia (what a wag Cardinal Gantin was!). So I wonder what they did with that more recent Toowoomba chappie down in Oz? Perhaps there was a derelict shanty-town in the Outback to which he was translated? I suppose the Australian equivalent of Parthenia might be something like Sheilas' Rest (Refrigerium scortorum in partibus infidelium), perhaps? No? OK, I apologise to those who discern a patronising 'colonialist' slur.
In English constitutional practice, Members of the House of Commons who 'Want Out' apply for the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds or of the Manor of Northolt which, being technically Offices of profit under the Crown, automatically disqualify the holder from membership of the Commons. A list of those honoured with these dignities would afford a peepshow of some of the most diverting characters to have served their country, or, er, not.
Would it be a Jolly Thought if there were a similar special Titular See to which errant bishops were automatically translated? The Successio Apostolica of that See would be terribly interesting. In an age of virtual Anythings on the Internet, it could have its own virtual Cathedral with sumptuous but virtual monuments to the glories of previous virtual pontiffs. Just virtually think! Virtual Bernini wall to wall! There could be a virtual Shrine, thronged by virtual pilgrims, to that great liturgical reformer S Rembert Weakland, with, in the background, an immense virtual painting, in the style of Rubens' Triumph of the Church, of the archbishop's friend upon a great baroque chariot, triumphantly on his way to the bank with the archdiocesan virtual finances! The virtual Spirit of Vatican II! If I knew how to put illustrations on to blogs, I would design its armorial bearings for you.