Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth recently gave an account of matters in which, he claimed, PF was currently not doing his 'Petrine' job by giving clear and orthodox Catholic teaching. He called upon PF to do this.
Bishop Philip wrote: "As a Bishop, I have a responsibility not just for the Church in my diocese, but for the Universal Church." .
The Vatican II document Christus Dominus (para 6) clearly teaches this collegial responsibility of the Episcopate. 'Collegiality', of course, and 'Vatican II' are dodgy words to use in the hearing of some cosiddetto 'Traditionalists' (how they must hate it each February when the Collect of S Matthias comes round!). They suspect both that concept and that source. Are they right?
Readers will be aware of my own conviction that Vatican II and all the Councils except those which made strictly dogmatic pronouncements with accompanying anathemata, gradually fade into the background-noise of the Catholic Church. Does the Governorate of the Vatican City State insist that all Jewish visitors must wear the star of David? How many bishops still maintain a strict rule that all their clergy should say the Divine Office in Latin except for those who have sought and received individual permission to use a vernacular?
But Vatican II was an Ecumenical Council and may therefore be cited as such. However, for traddies who prefer the pre-Vatican II Magisterium, I will point them to the paragraph Procul dubio ... of Fidei donum: "... unusquisque Episcopus portionis tantum gregis sibi commissae sacer pastor est, tamen qua legitimus Apostolorum successor ex Dei institutione et praecepto apostolici muneris Ecclesiae una cum ceteris Episcopis sponsor fit etc..".
So it's good enough for me that Bishop Egan used the same words as Pius XII (and earlier Roman Pontiffs). The Bishop of Portsmouth does have a responsibility for the entire Church Militant, as well as for his own Diocese! He deserves all credit for recognising and using this Magisterial function.
In Easter week 2019, nineteen of us (later joined by a number of others) sent an Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church. In it, we called upon the world-wide episcopate to use its authority in regard to some features of this pontificate. Of course, you will find this document in (pages 127sqq of) Defending the Faith ... Arouca Press. The number of signatories was smaller than the numbers who had signed our earlier documents, but there was one bonus: Fr Aidan Nichols O.P. joined in. Nichols, one of the most learned Anglophone theologians, teacher at both Oxford and Cambrudge, author of many books, had not been much in the public forum since he read a fine paper a few years previously which had led to him being gagged.
It was good to see his head again above the parapet!
So what is the status of his lordship's intervention?
Since he explicitly mentions his responsibilities with regard to the entire Church Militant, it is clear that these words are not the sort of light-hearted unofficial remark a person might dash off on personal media. So, yes, the words of Bishop Philip Egan are guaranteed (by his own allusion to his role as a member of the Universal collegial Episcopate) to be Magisterial!
Not many Diocesan Bishops under the age of resigation have taken such a courageous step! Just one bishop among the the legions of the silent, you think?
No! Wrong attitude!! Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus!!