If the direction the Papacy is headed in this story from Rorate Caeli is accurate, it is a sad day and indicates more of the devolution of the Church from Catholicism to Protestantism.
Amidst all the talk from some Synod delegates and spokesmen about the “devolution” or “delegation” of important moral questions to the bishops’ conferences, and the criticisms of a very few Synod fathers and Catholic commentators against this idea, there is the proverbial “elephant in the room” that no one wants to mention. We are referring to the fact that Pope Francis already endorsed the idea of “devolution” or “delegation” of doctrinal authority in nos. 32-33 of his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the true blueprint for his entire pontificate (our emphases):
- Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization. Pope John Paul II asked for help in finding “a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation”. We have made little progress in this regard. The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion. The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”.Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated. Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.
33.Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way”. I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory. I encourage everyone to apply the guidelines found in this document generously and courageously, without inhibitions or fear. The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leadership of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment.
When Evangelii Gaudium was published in November 2013, we at Rorate immediately grasped the central importance of this passage, which is why we chose to highlight it. The reality is that for all the talk of “conspiracies” and “muddling through” in this pontificate, Francis and his closest advisers (Cardinals Maradiaga and Abp. Tucho Fernandez in particular) have been nothing if not clear about their intentions for “deep, total and irreversible” change in the Church. This passage in EG could not be any clearer about the direction where Francis wants the Church to go.
If ever a measure of doctrinal authority were to be devolved to the bishops’ conferences, then Rome would be faced with a never-ending battle to regulate, limit or claim back that authority. The damage to the papacy’s authority and the chaos that would spread throughout the universal Church are too terrible to contemplate.
Retrieved October 15, 2015 from http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/10/doctrinal-devolution-to-bishops.html#more