Oh dear! Some of you must be getting tired of this; irritated that you're no longer getting your moneysworth from the blog in terms of perpetually fresh stuff. But here, again, is a piece from a couple of months ago. I just happen to feel that The Time Is At Hand.
Soon after Amoris laetitia, Cardinal Farrell hinted heavily that Episcopal Conferences should consider that document and ... even more heavily and helpfully ... hinted exactly what the Holy Spirit (needless to say) required them to come up with. But quite a number of Conferences have still not broken the bonds of taciturnity. The Cardinal's aperient spittle and his potent ephphatha have not yet been effective. There are now signs that pressures ... if I may mix my metaphors ... are afoot. Has the Secretariate of State been dropping hints?
It is no secret that the English and Welsh bishops have not been able to come to a common mind and, on present showing, appear unlikely to do so. I believe Cardinal Nichols' phrase was "We're not there yet". One of the Diocesans, clearly having in mind the teaching of Benedict XVI about the magisterium of diocesan bishops, had the proactive good sense to issue his own ambiguity-free diocesan guidelines very soon after the emergence of AL. Strangely, he has been given very little credit for being so quick off the mark in responding to a Bergoglian initiative.
It is my personal and completely unevidenced hypothesis that his Eminence's rather flowery letter to PF last year, informing the latter that his election was the work of the Spirit and that the Spirit guides him daily (very Cupichiste!), was an attempt to buy time and to assure PF that, despite the apparent delays of the English bishops, they are all to a man enthusiastic and hyperpapalist supporters of this pontificate.
What is new is the (albeit risible) suggestion of Cardinal Cupich and others that the dubia which abound in this area have now been all authoritatively resolved by a rather strange and far from clear paragraph or two in Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Punto, or whatever it is that Italians say.
What would you do if you suddenly found yourself the Chairman of your Episcopal Conference in these circumstances?
Pushy as ever, I will reveal to you what I, as a strong Bergoglian, would do in order to breath new wind into the faltering sails of Amoris laetitia.
I would circulate my Venerable Brethren in my Conference with documents, to be discussed at the Eastertide Meeting of the Conference, explaining what in my view the current situation demands of them. Or I would agree with another like-minded and 'senior' member of the Conference for him to do it instead, so that it didn't seem that everything was my doing.
[A chance lecture by a visiting Bergoglian Cardinal to one of my country's newer universities would be a bonus, a real godsend!!!]
At the meeting, if one or two bishops still remained recalcitrant, I would express my regret that my colleagues had not been able to come together around a formula which could secure the unanimous majority encouraged by Apostolos suos. I would then remind them that a document with a non-unanimous but large majority could still be sent to Rome and, if approved there, would have thus acquired full authority. To help them negotiate the hoop, I would introduce a minute suggestion of a hint of an ambiguity into one sentence in the draft (or get one of my friends to propose it), like throwing a bone to a dog, so that they could use that to salve their consciences and save their faces.
If this still failed to inspire the troublesome minority to see sense, I would go for the nuclear option of sending such a resolution to Rome, at the same time making clear to 'Rome' which of my brethren constituted the non-juring minority. Possibly I might also drop some quiet words into the Nuncio's ear about "how difficult it is to work with" X, Y, and/or Z.
But ... dreadful thought ... suppose there were to be a change of pontificate right in the middle of all this pro-Amoris activity ... After all, to adapt a witticism of Dom Gregory Dix, even the most single-minded pontiff eventually has rest from his labours, and it is surprising how often the lance of his successor delivers the Church from the dangers posed by some quite different windmill.
What's that phrase about creeks and paddles ...