Fr Aidan Nichols was surely right in hoping for a revision of the Church's law, rendering it possible for erroneous teaching by an occupant of the Chair of S Peter to be investigated. But I wonder if, perhaps, it might be even more important for it to be possible to test in court the behaviour of any bishop, even and especially a Roman Pontiff, who is widely suspected of public Apostasy because of his prima facie public acts of Idolatry.
I am reminded of the description in Dix (Shape pp 24-26) of the Apostasy of the clergy of Cirta (Constantine, in Algeria) in 303. Here is a snippet of the great Anglican Benedictine in characteristic (purple passage) full flood:
" ... What could they have said? To have surrendered the scriptures and the sacred vessels was 'apostasy', still for clerics (though not for laymen) the irremissible sin for which there was no possible penance. And they knew it; Felix [the City Warden] knew it; even the grinning public slaves knew it. They had saved their lives - but they had all irremediably forfeited their orders in that quarter of an hour. I know no more moving picture of the inner meaning of the persecutions than that shamefaced helpless group of apostate African clergy with the uncouth Berber names - the men who were not martyrs - as the public slave saw them across the shoulders of their enemies and jotted down their actions on that hot May afternoon sixteen centuries ago."
The last decade or so has given us photographs of a Jesuit General praying like a Buddhist among Buddhists. I believe the most recent very senior cleric to be caught apparently committing Idolatry 'to camera' was Maradiaga. It is claimed, I do not know upon what evidence, that there is another cardinal who once offered flowers to the deities in a Hindu temple at Neasden (Yes!! There really is such a place!). Pretty certainly misreported nonsense? Well, let us hope so. But it is the sort of misreported nonsense that can be unsettling for us simple and unsophisticated members of the plebs sancta Dei. I suspect I have in mind the technical sense of the term skandalon.
Then, you will remind me, there is the Pachamama business. It is important, in all these cases, that nothing should be presumed or asserted without a proper forensic investigation about what, physically, occurred; what the meaning of such acts was in terms of the non-Christian religion concerned; and how these acts in se relate to established Catholic theological notions of Idolatry and Apostasy. It is not for an individual such as me (or you) to pass judgment since I lack the needful theological and legal training. You probably lack them too.
Such matters need rigorous, forensic, investigation in a free court.
Meanwhile, I wonder how we are bound to regard those against whom there is very plausible and undenied prima facie evidence of Idolatry. Are they still morally entitled to the exercise of their Orders (of course, the character of the Sacrament of Holy Order will certainly not have been expunged from their souls ... the Church's Rigid Dogma makes that clear).
My instinct is that any expression of an opinion by me, at a time when such individuals have not yet been properly tried and convicted, is way above my pay-grade.
And pretty certainly way above yours.
But ... during (for example) the Diocletian persecution, many Christians bore painful witness to Christ against the background of the Apostasy of their hierarchical superiors.
So, simply to ask these questions, even about PF and highly placed Bergoglianical prelates, is not a subversive frivolity. Indeed, Canon 212 talks about us having the duty (officium) to raise such matters of concern. If the appearance or possibility of Apostasy at the very highest level in the Church is not a valid matter of concern, I cannot think of anything else that could be. Can you?
If a future court were to find (ex. gr.) that PF did commit a formal act of Apostasy during his Pachamama games, presumably a future Annuario Pontificio would record his pontificate as having come, de iure, to an end at the moment of his sad apostasy.
Such of his later de facto routine enactments as were deemed unobjectionable could, I imagine, be granted a sanatio in radice under the new pontificate.