The overlaps in content (but certainly not style) between the article by "Monsignor Loftus", which I have shared with you, and the elegant paper delivered recently to an ecumenical audience by Fr Aidan Nichols, are quite considerable. And all the more diverting since they come from the opposite ends of the theological spectrum.
The Catholic Herald account of Fr Aidan's address quotes him as saying that "bishops' conferences ha[ve] been slow to support Pope Francis, probably because they [a]re divided among themselves". The Monsignore is much more prolix. "And in many, many more countries, our own included, whole episcopates are sitting on the fence ..." ... I honestly don't feel up to copying out the two columns which follow. I do, you know, type my posts with just the one finger.
All you need to know is that the Monsignore does not like Episcopal Conferences, least of all his own. He does not like "young" bishops, who are "often over-moralising, over-dogmatising, and over-sure". And, above all, he dislikes young priests, who are "youngsters", "aggressive", "narcissistic", "Tridentinising". "Unless some opposition to all this backward-looking ecclesiology is forthcoming ... mumble mumble mumble ... growing and clergy-led retreat ... mumble mumble mumble ... introspective sacristy-sect"....
Historians will be diverted to realise that, while B Paul VI unwisely tried to rid the Church of the curse of gerontocracy by curbing the electoral powers of elderly Cardinals, the Monsignore apparently sees the salvation of the Church as lying entirely in the hands of the elderly. In their richly varied shades of grey, they should break their retirement and flock to Episcopal Conferences and deanery meetings and never stop putting their successors right about everything.
We wrinklies are enormously good at that sort of activity, and generous, to boot. "When I was ABC, what I used to do was DEF ..." "I always found it good practice to GHI...". "I think you will find, as I did, that JKL ...". Our anecdotes (rarely flawed by concise over-abbreviation) never end in our own discomfiture, but always in the confusion of the partes adversae. And it is amazing what excellent wind we still have, even though the advance of the years means that our flecks of spittle are broadcast with perhaps just a tadge less discipline than in the days of our prime.
It's called "being boring".