Since I wrote yesterday's post about Fear, the online Catholic Herald has published two commendable pieces on the Correctio filialis. The second, by Fr Andrew Pinsent, a young priest of striking erudition, is one of the most cutting analyses of Pope Bergoglio's style of papacy that I have yet seen.
And I particularly draw your attention to one phrase in the piece by Bishop Gracida, Emeritus of Corpus Christi.
"Perhaps naively, I thought my signature might encourage more bishops to make their views public, and perhaps some will. Many are timid and fearful of retaliation by Rome".
How remarkable. Timid and fearful! Vatican II, we all thought, had raised the dignity of the Episcopate. No longer should a bishop be thought of as a mere Vicar, errand-boy, of the Roman Pontiff. No; they are Successors of the Apostles; big bold men. My goodness me, you should just see their muscles!
Accordingly, certain canonical powers which in the old system had to be periodically regranted to diocesan bishops in their "quinquennial faculties", henceforth became powers inherent in the status of a diocesan bishop. So the old method by which Rome had been able to ... er ... inconvenience recalcitrant bishops, is no longer available. And quite right, too.
But, so a very experienced retired bishop now tells us, in this Pontificate of Mercy bishops are "timid and fearful of retaliation by Rome".
Well, well, well. Who'd have thought it. What exactly are they afraid of? Where exactly does "retaliation" feature in the Lord's teaching? Luke 22:32, perhaps? ("Simon, Simon ... I have prayed for you ... and when you have turned again, retaliate upon your brethren").
I am reminded of the dear old Anglican joke ... stop me if you've heard it before ... yes, we old men are such bores ... about the laying on of hands during Episcopal Consecration.
"What" asks the ubiquitous Tiny Boy, "are they all doing to him?"
(I should explain here to Cradle Catholics that the Anglican tradition most happily preserved the ancient ritual whereby all the Consecrators - they might be a dozen or more - imposed hands simultaneously. It looked rather like a rugger scrum, with the Consecrand submerged in the middle.)
The child's Father explains to him: "They are removing his spine".